Pune, Sep 10 (SocialNews.XYZ) In a shocking development, a death-row convict in the sensational July 2016 Kopardi, Ahmednagar, gangrape-cum-murder of a 15-year-old schoolgirl, has committed suicide in the Yerawada Central Jail (YCJ), here early on Sunday, official sources said.
He is Jitendra Babula Shinde, 32, alias Pappu, and was found hanging in his cell today.
Hours after the incident, the YCJ authorities have ordered a probe into the suicide case.
Shinde, 32, was suffering from certain mental issues and had been under psychiatric treatment since some time, said an official.
Around 5.58 am, a jail attendant came across Shinde hanging by a torn towel from the door of his cell and immediately summoned help.
His colleagues rushed there, brought him down, and suspecting him to be alive, informed the jail doctor who examined him and later declared him dead.
The YCJ sent his body for an autopsy, informed his family members and then initiated the proceedings to conduct a probe into the suicide case, the motive of which is not clear.
After Shinde’s suicide, vigil has been increased in the cells where the other co-convicts in the same case – Santosh Gorkha Bhawal, 36 and Nitin Gopinath Bhailume, 34 – are also lodged.
Shinde, along with Bhawal and Bhailume, was found guilty and awarded the death penalty rape, conspiracy, kidnap, murder and other crimes under the IPC and POCSO in Nov 2017 nearly18 months after the heinous crime shook the state.
A lawyer for one of the convicts Adv. Vijalayaxmi Khopade told IANS that the convicted trio’s death sentence was yet to be ratified by the Bombay High Court and the relevant proceedings were still in process.
On July 13, 2016, the minor victim studying in Class IX, had gone to her grandmother’s home nearby to fetch some spices, but was allegedly lured by the trio, kidnapped and then subjected to the bestial rape and mutilating murder.
The state government had appointed Special Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam to direct the legal battle before a Fast Track Court in Ahmednagar which delivered its verdict after 18 months in Nov. 2017, ending what was one of the most keenly watched trials in recent years.
The shuddering incident had triggered anger and outrage among the Maratha community members who took out a series of silent processions in Ahmednagar and later across the state demanding capital punishment for the accused trio.