Hours after the death of a lecturer who was set ablaze in Wardha, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that Advocate Ujjwal Nikam had been appointed as the Special Public Prosecutor in the case. He expressed hope that the investigation and the proceedings of the case would be conducted in a speedy manner. Furthermore, he asked all the government departments to properly coordinate for ensuring justice to the victim.
Earlier in the day, Thackeray urged people not to take the law into their own hands. Giving an assurance that the state government would not pardon the guilty, he asserted that the accused would be hanged soon. Furthermore, the Maharashtra CM hinted that the government could bring in a more stringent law to tackle the menace of atrocities against women.
हिंगणघाट जळीतकांड खटल्यासाठी विशेष सरकारी वकील म्हणून अॅड. उज्ज्वल निकम यांची नियुक्ती करण्यात आली. पीडितेला न्याय मिळण्यासाठी शासनाचे संबंधित विभाग समन्वयाने काम करतील आणि प्रकरणाचा तपास व खटला जलदगतीने चालेल यावर कटाक्ष असेल असे मुख्यमंत्री उद्धव बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांनी सांगितले.— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) February 10, 2020
Nikam has represented the state in several high-profile cases such as the 26/11 terrorist attack trial, the 2016 Kopardi rape and murder case and the murder of senior BJP leader Pramod Mahajan. He was India’s representative at the global seminar on terrorism organised by the United Nations Security Council in 2010.
Moreover, Nikam was bestowed with the Padma Shri by the Centre in 2016. Recently, reports emerged that a Bollywood film on Nikam’s life is under active consideration. Incidentally, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government downgraded his security cover from Z-plus to the Y category in December 2019.
On February 3, a 25-year-old lecturer, a resident of Hinganghat in Wardha district was set ablaze by a stalker while she was on the way to college. Having suffered 40% burns, she was undergoing treatment at the Orange City Hospital and Research Centre in Nagpur. The state government had specially flown in Dr Sunil Keswani, the director of the National Burns Centre to supervise her treatment.
However, the victim succumbed to her injuries on Monday morning at 6.55 am. Identified as the accused, Vikesh Nagrale was arrested by the police. He was booked under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 326-A. Now, it is expected that he will be charged with murder.