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Kopardi rape, murder: Court charges 3 accused

Kopardi rape, murder: Court charges 3 accused
A local court has framed charges against the three accused in the July 13 Kopardi rape and murder case, which had triggered massive ‘silent’ protests by Marathas across the state.

The sessions court here on Wednesday framed charges against the three accused -- Jitendra Babulal Shinde (25), Santosh Gorakh Bhawal (23), and Nitin Gopinath Bhailume (23) -- under various sections including Indian Penal Code’s 376 (a) (gangrape), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder) and relevant provisions under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The special public prosecutor in the case, Ujjwal Nikam, said that next hearing in the case will be on December 20.

Judge Suvarna Kewale rejected the demand of defence lawyer to shift the case to another district and asked him to approach the high court on their demand regarding transfer of the case to another court.

The accused alleged that their homes were sealed by the police. However, investigating officer Shashiraj Patole presented an affidavit and refuted the charges. Subsequently, the court on Wednesday rejected the application of the accused in this regard. The 15-year-old victim was raped on July 13 at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district, allegedly by the three accused, who also inflicted injuries all over her body and broke her limbs before throttling her.

The incident triggered silent marches by the Marathas across the state as the victim belonged to the community, while the culprits are Dalits. Through their campaign, the community has also raised long-pending demands like quota in education and jobs. The trial in the Kopardi rape and murder case began last month on October 19 after the filing of the chargesheet.
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