MUMBAI: The Maharashtra police on Friday filed a chargesheet in the case of gang rape and murder of a schoolgirl in Kopardi village which triggered a statewide agitation by the Maratha social group.
The chargesheet against three men named as prime accused in the case was filed at a district court in Ahmednagar. Its filing came at the end of an 86-day police investigation into the rape and murder of the 15-year-old girl on July 16.
The chargesheet runs into 350 pages and names around 70 witnesses, including family members of the girl and other villagers.
Accused Pappu alias Jitendra Shinde, Santosh G. Bhaval and Nitin G. Bhailume were arrested within hours of the crime and charged under Sections 376 (A) and 302 of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to rape and murder, besideother relevant laws.
The decision to file the chargesheet came after the opposition raised a hue and cry over the delay in the trial process. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule gave an ultimatum to the government to file a chargesheet within two days and threatened dire consequences if not.
Criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam has been appointed the special public prosecutor which will be tried in a fast-track court.
The crime, the brutality of which has echoes of the Nirbhaya case of Delhi, happened on the evening of July 13 at Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district. The girl had been noticed missing for a few hours, after which her mutilated, blood-splattered body was found under a tree in a field.
The crime sent shock waves through Maharashtra's social and political circles and led to a ruckus in the state's legislature for two days during its monsoon session. The opposition Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party targeted the state's BJP-Shiv Sena government both within the legislature and outside.
Hundreds of villagers put up roadblocks in Kopardi and surrounding villages and took out processions to demand justice for the victim and her family.
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