Ten years after condemning to death six nomadic tribe members in a rape and murder case, the Supreme Court on March 5, 2019 found them innocent and ordered the Maharshtra Police to find out the real crime doers. The apex court ordered the immediate release of Ankush Maruti Shinde, Rajya Appa Shinde, Ambadas Laxman Shinde, Raju Mhasu Shinde, Bapu Appa Sinde and Surya alias Suresh for the murder of five members of a family, rape of a woman and her 15-year-old daughter and dacoity in Nashik. They had spent over 16 years in jail in anticipation of death. The six tribal members also had a juvenile who was a juvenile at the date of the arrest. The court said the six men were falsely implicated and roped in by the police. Some of them have developed psychiatric symptoms due to the long years in solitary confinement. They had not been eligible for pardon or furlon as they were condemned men. The apex court Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri, S. Abdul Nazeer and M.R. Shah specifically takes the case of Ankush Maruti Shinde, who was subsequently found to be a juvenile. The court also ordered the Maharashtra government to pay each of the six men a compensation of 25 lakhs. The court ordered the Maharashtra Chief Secretary to take disciplinary action against the probe officers within three months as the police did not bother to even investigate the fact that an eye-witnesses had, immediately after the crime was committed. In 2009, the court had dismissed their appeals and found them all guilty enough to be sent to the gallows. However, luck changed for the six men when they filed their review petitions against the 2009 judgment. In October 2018, the court decided to recall its 2009 verdict and hear their appeals afresh. This change of mind by the court has now finally proved their innocence.
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