Mumbai : The Ahmednagar police on Friday filed a chargesheet in a district court against three accused in the brutal rape and murder of a teenage Maratha girl in Kopardi village on July 13. The Kopardi case triggered state-wide protests from Maratha organisations.

The chargesheet named Pappu alias Jitendra Shinde, Santosh G. Bhaval and Nitin G. Bhailume as prime accused and 70 witnesses in the case. The trio was charged under Sections 376 (A) and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, pertaining to rape and murder, besides other sections of relevant laws. The accused were arrested hours after the crime, but the chargesheet was filed 86 days after the crime.

As per the law, if a chargesheet in a particular case is not filed within 90 days since the arrest of suspects, the accused are entitled to apply for bail. The state government was being criticised by Maratha organisations and opposition for delay in filing the chargesheet.

High-profile criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam has been appointed Special Public Prosecutor in the case

which will be tried before a fast-track court. According to sources, the 350-page chargesheet emphasises on the gory nature of the crime and the prosecution will seek death penalty for the accused.

Several Maratha organisations have been holding peaceful morchas across the state since August and have demanded death penalty for the culprits, reservations for the community and that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act should be amended to prevent its alleged misuse by Dalits and Tribals.

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