Govt. to seek death penalty for Kopardi rapists Mr. Nikam had argued that a criminal conspiracy was hatched by the three accused, Jitendra alias ‘Pappu’ Shinde, Santosh Bhaval and Nitin Bhailume for the rape and murder of the minor. He said Shinde (accused no. 1) attempted to molest the girl five days before the actual crime that took place on July 13.The Kopardi crime spurred a wave of ‘muk morchas’ (silent rallies) from the Maratha community across the State and buttressed the community’s claim for Maratha reservation and a curb on the misuse of the Atrocity Act.Also Read The Ahmednagar police first arrested Shinde (25) from Shrigonda, Bhaval (36) from Karjat.Bhailume (26 from Pune. All three were contractual workers in private companies or construction sites.The incident was likened to the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case in the extent of its brutality, with medical reports suggesting that violence of a particularly feral nature was inflicted on the 15-year-old girl, who belonged to the Maratha community.Reports stated that the victim’s limbs were broken, her arms dislocated from her shoulders, and her skin shorn from her body. After the crime, the accused, who belong to a lower caste, allegedly threatened the parents of the victim that they would file an atrocity case against them if they dared to lodge a case of rape and murder. The Ahmednagar district and sessions court in Maharashtra on Monday rejected a petition of the defence counsel for one of the accused in the Kopardi rape and murder case seeking the summoning of Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam as one of the witnesses.Last month, Balasaheb Khopade, lawyer for Santosh Baval, one of the accused in the rape and murder of a minor in Kopardi village last July, submitted the unusual petition in the court.The reason the defence counsel gave in the petition for naming Mr. Nikam as one of the witnesses was that he was ostensibly ‘biased’. Advocate Khopade, along with his daughter, advocate Vijaylaxmi Khopade, had accused Mr. Nikam of ‘coaching’ witnesses in his home and maintained that fabricated documents were submitted as evidence by the prosecution.Following the quashing of his petition, Mr. Khopade said he would move the Bombay High Court on the same. He said the Ahmednagar court had given time till July 24 to review the state of the appeal on his petition (summoning Mr. Nikam) in the High Court.In his petition, Mr. Khopade pointed to the big time lag between the appointment of Mr. Nikam as Special Public Prosecutor (barely 10 days after the rape incident) and the filing of the charge sheet naming 70 witnesses on October 7 last year (86 days after the crime).The 350-page charge sheet that was filed by the Ahmednagar police under sections 302 and 376 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) set forth testimonies of the 70 witnesses, including the girl’s kith and kin.Also Read Ahmednagar tense after brutal murder of minor girl
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Khursheed Alam was released on a parole for just three hours on Wednesday to attend the last rites of his younger brother Shahnawaz Alam, who died of lung cancer on Tuesday evening.An official said the former employees union leader who joined the PDP a few years ago, was shifted from the Centaur Lake View hotel, a designated sub-jail, on Wednesday morning to attend the last rites here.“Mr. Alam was escorted by a posse of security personnel to Khanyar and was again whisked away after the burial. We expected the State government to release him for at least four days so that he could participate in all the congregational prayers to be offered,” a relative said on the condition of anonymity.A police official said the agencies were “weighing the options to release him again to attend the congregational prayers”.Mr. Alam was among 179 political leaders arrested in the crackdown launched on the mainstream leaders in J&K before the Centre revoked J&K’s special status.