A minor girl was brutally gangraped allegedly by three men and her body was found in a mutilated state under a neem tree in Kopardi village in Karjat taluka of Ahmednagar district on Wednesday.
The situation in Karjat tehsil is flaring up as the villagers and activists took to the streets on Sunday demanding stiff action against the accused of the 15-year-old girl, even as a political slugfest erupted with opposition demanding Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavais' resignation over the matter on "moral grounds".
All three accused, Jitendra Shinde, Santosh Bhaval and Nitin Dhailume, were arrested by the local crime branch after the incident occurred on 13 July, police said.
He said Shinde alias 'Pappu' was arrested on 14 July while the other two accused were held later.
The accused have been booked under IPC sections 376 (punishment for rape), 302 (murder) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
"The incident took place on 13 July between 6.45 pm and 7.30 pm when the victim was returning after meeting her grandfather. She was accosted by three accused who gangraped her violently before throttling her to death. Her both shoulders were found to be dislocated," Ahmednagar district Superintendent of Police Saurabh Tripathi told PTI.
According to The Asian Age, the victim was a ninth standard girl whose body was badly mutilated. The flesh from all over her body, including her genitals, were torn. Her hair had been pulled out, hands were dislocated from the shoulders, her teeth were smashed and she was strangled to death after rape, states the report.
However, the officer has dismissed media reports about the nature of cruelty the victim was allegedly subjected to by the trio.
On the eve of beginning of monsoon session of the state Legislature, Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Sunday demanded that Fadnavis should step down taking moral responsibility of the incident.
"We have a chief minister who also holds Home portfolio. He refuses to acknowledge that law and order situation in the state is deteriorating under his tenure. He did not even have time to go and visit the bereaved family. He should immediately take moral responsibility and resign," the Congress leader said.
Leader Of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde demanded capital punishment for the accused, besides a high-level inquiry.
He alleged that photos of Ahmednagar district Guardian Minister Ram Shinde with the "prime accused" in the case are doing rounds in media.
"There was laxity on the part of police officials in arresting the accused. Photos of Guardian minister (of Ahmednagar district) Ram Shinde with the prime accused are going around in media. Thus, there needs to be a high-level inquiry into the incident. Also, we demand fast track hearing of this case and capital punishment for the accused," the NCP leader said.
When contacted, Shinde, who was recently elevated to the post of cabinet minister, said he had no relation with the accused and that the guilty will be dealt with an iron hand.
With inputs from PTI