Three get death sentence for rape, murder of minor

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A Special Court here on Wednesday awarded the death sentence to all three accused in the rape and brutal murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Kopardi village in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district in July 2016. The court had on November 18, theld main acused Jitendra Babubal Shinde alias Pappu (21) and co-accused Santosh Gorakh Bhaval (29) and Nitin Bhailume (28) guilty in the case.

The incident triggered massive protests by Maratha community at the time, flaring tensions between Marathas and Dalits.

Mumbai: Three convicts will hang for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in Maharashtra's Kopardi village last year.

The accused also inflicted injuries all over her body and broke her limbs before throttling her.

The mother of the victim thanked the state government, Ujjwal Nikam and Maratha activists for their support.

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Barring those directly concerned with the Kopardi case - special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and his team of lawyers, the police brass including the case investigators, the family members of the victim and the court staffers - nobody else was permitted entry.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis who had ordered the constitution of a fast track court in light of the huge unrest among the Maratha community after the incident, said, "The perpetrators of the heinous crime were finally awarded capital punishment". Breaking down after hearing the sentence, she said, "I am satisfied with the verdict". However, when she resisted, two of the accused said that they would "see her later". The three convicts were brought to the Ahmednagar district and sessions court in heavy security around 9.30am.

In a similar incident, four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case were given the death penalty.

The duo was also handed out life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 20,000 each, under Section 120, read with sections 376 (2)(i)(m) and 109 of the IPC and three years' RI under sections 109 and 354 A (1) of the IPC. During the trial, the prosecution examined 31 witnesses and argued there were 24 types of evidence against the three.

The sentence will be implemented only after the top court confirms it. The sentences are to run concurrently.