Police Friday filed a charge sheet against three accused in the Kopardi gangrape-murder case, which generated much heat across Maharashtra in the past three months with Marathas hitting the streets seeking justice for the girl besides raising other demands like quota in education and jobs.
Ahmednagar Superintendent of Police Saurabh Tripathi filed the charge sheet running into over 350 pages before a sessions court in the district in which the three accused are charged under IPC Sections 302 (murder) and 376 (rape). Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the charge sheet was filed well within the statutory period of 90 days, which ends on October 11.
“The charge sheet has been filed well before the statutory period as 90 days are counted from the date of the first arrest and not the day of the crime… I will see to it that justice is done to the victim,” Nikam said.
Jitendra Babulal Shinde, Santosh Gorakh Bhawal and Nitin Gopinath Bhailume have also been been charged under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The 15-year-old victim was raped on July 13 at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district, allegedly by the trio, who also inflicted injuries all over her body and broke her limbs before throttling her.
Meanwhile, when contacted, the grandfather of the Kopardi victim said pressure on the government from all the sections compelled the police to file the charge sheet in time.
“Now that the charge sheet has been filed, we expect that as promised by the Chief Minister, the trial of the case should be conducted on a daily basis and the culprits should get severe punishment as early as possible for the heinous crime,” he said.
The Kopardi incident sparked a huge public outrage and political slugfest with the Congress demanding Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s resignation on “moral grounds” in the Maharashtra Assembly. Fadnavis had assured the victim’s family that the matter will be heard in a fast track court, and announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh. The incident proved the trigger for the silent marches (muk morchas) taken out by the Marathas across the state as the victim belonged to the community, while the culprits are Dalits.
Though their campaign has also raised long-pending demands like reservation in education and jobs, the Kopardi case has been highlighted in the marches, which have evoked overwhelming response, compelling all political parties to take the movement seriously.