15 months on, Kuldeep Singh Sengar’s arms’ licence cancelled
While ideally it should take only few days in the cancellation of arms’ licence of a person who is arrested on grievous charges like rape and murder, in the case of jailed MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the Unnao administration took 15 months to complete the process.
“Sengar’s arms’ licences have been cancelled today. It took a while as a judicial process is involved,” said district magistrate, Unnao, Devesh Pandey.
“The process of cancellation involves hearing of both the parties. The lawyers of MLA presented their side in May, and then the work got hampered because of the strike by lawyers in June and July. The hearing was scheduled today (Friday) and we decided to cancel all his licences,” said the DM.
Sengar, who is accused of raping a minor girl and murdering her family members in Unnao, was arrested by the CBI on April 13, 2018. On May 11 last year, the Unnao police submitted the cancellation report for the arms licences of Sengar to the then district magistrate.
Since the process requires a judicial review, the district magistrates merely kept issuing dates one after another, said sources in the police department.
The MLA has three licences, one is of rifle and other two for a double barrel gun and a revolver.
Sources said the first hearing for the cancellation of Sengar’s arms licences was held a week after the police recommendation order was issued last year.
The MLA, however, filed an objection, said the sources.
Since then the cancellation report was not taken up for obvious reasons.
That the administration preferred to play soft could be assess from the fact that when MLA’s brother Atul Singh shot the then additional SP Unnao Ram Lal Verma his revolver’s licence was cancelled within days of his arrest in 2004.
In yet another proof of Sengar’s clout in the district, the authorities also failed to clear the application for arms’ licence sought by the rape victim and her lawyer Mahendra Singh.
Both, fearing for their lives, had asked for the licence.
While they kept running from pillar to post, the Unnao administration issued a gun licence to Simple Mishra, a confidante of MLA within days of receiving his application.
Mishra is now one of 10 accused in the murder and attempt to murder case lodged after the truck hit the car of rape victim in Rae Bareli on Sunday.
While her two aunts were killed in the car crash she and her lawyer are fighting for life at King George Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow.
Senior police officers wonder why the arms cancellation process was prolonged.
“This is a serious lapse and accountability needed to be fixed after an impartial investigation. Questions will definitely be asked about this inordinate delay in cancellation of licence,” one of them said.
“It seems that the Supreme Court’s tough posturing made the officials fear for reprisal and they brought back police cancellation report and began the process of cancellation,” he said.
“Technically if someone has a petty charge filed against him under section 504 and 323 (verbal abuse) he or she cannot be issued a firearm, herein is an MLA with such grievous charges,” said former IG Vijay Shankar Singh said.
Meanwhile, the Unnao administration has sought the details of criminal record and arms licences issued to 10 accused named in the Rae Bareli accident.
DM has asked the police to provide all the details within 48 hours so that the process of cancelling their firearms licences could begin.
Apart from MLA Kuldeep Sengar, his brothers Atul and Manoj Sengar, Vinod Mishra alias Simple, Haripal Singh, Naveen Singh, Komal Singh, Arun Singh, Gyanendra Singh, Rinku Singh, Awdhesh Singh are accused of murder and attempt to murder. All of them are residents of Unnao district. The rape victim’s uncle in his letter to the Prime minister Narendra Modi also had demanded cancellation of arms licences of all the accused.