Raigad (Maharashtra): A day after outrage over the kidnap, rape and killing of a 3-year old tribal girl, the state government on Thursday named ace criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam as the Special Public Prosecutor in the case.
Minister of State for Home Shamburaj Desai, who rushed to the Pen town in Raigad made the announcement after a spot review of the situation and holding discussions with the district police and civil authorities.
“The case will be transferred to a fast-track court and Ujjwal Nikam has been appointed as the SPP,” Desai informed mediapersons.
The Pen townsfolk and surrounding villages held a spontaneous shutdown for the second consecutive day and took out processions to the local police station and hospital demanding capital punishment for the accused.
The accused, Aadesh M. Patil, 32 – who was arrested on Wednesday – is lodged in the police lockup amid tight security in view of the public anger and condemnation from various quarters.
Leader of Opposition in Council Pravin Darekar visited Pen and met the distraught family members of the victim and demanded justice for them.
Similarly, senior Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe, BJP women’s wing leader Chitra Wagh, prominent women’s activist Vaishali Patil, Bhumata Ranragini Brigade chief Trupti Desai and others have strongly condemned the incident and demanded the death penalty for the accused.
The accused Patil had been convicted in a rape case earlier and was undergoing his punishment in Alibaug Jail, but had recently been granted parole.
It may be recalled that around 11 pm on Tuesday, he espied the little girl sleeping near her parents at the small tribal hamlet of Vadgaon on the outskirts of Pen.
Patil picked up the girl, ran to a nearby isolated spot, raped and killed her and was in the process of disposing of her body around 3 am on Wednesday.
However, a search party with her parents reached there and as they spotted him, he panicked and fled under cover of darkness.
Hours later around noon (Dec. 30), a police team managed to nab the parolee from his hideout and brought him to Pen.
He has been booked for another offence of rape, coupled with kidnapping, murder and other charges under the Indian Penal Code, besides additional charges under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act.
Official sources indicate that the case would be dealt under the draft provisions of the recently approved Shakti Act which provides for death penalty and stiff fines for rape, besides speeding up the probe and trial.
The Shakti Act – which will be tabled before the Maharashtra Legislature during the Budget Session – has also proposed changes in the CrPC by slashing the investigation period from 60 to 15 working days, the trial period from 60 to 30 working days, and reduced the appeal period from 180 to 45 days.
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