3 months ago, Unnao victim’s mother filed plea for trial transfer
The Unnao rape victim’s mother had filed a petition in Supreme Court in April, claiming a threat to the family.Updated: Jul 31, 2019 00:06 IST
As the Unnao rape survivor battles for life in a Lucknow hospital after a road crash on Sunday, it has emerged that her mother approached the Supreme Court three months ago, seeking the transfer of the trial of the case to Delhi. The apex court is yet to take up the matter for detailed hearings.
In April this year, the mother filed a petition in the Supreme Court, claiming a threat to the family and the possibility of the suspects influencing witnesses, and sought the transfer.
The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing her daughter’s alleged rape in 2017 (the survivor was a minor at the time) by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar and last year’s death in custody of her father, who was arrested by Uttar Pradesh police in what the family has claimed to be false case. So far, 10 people, including Sengar, his brother and two policemen of the Makhi police station that registered the case against the father, have been arrested by the CBI and all are in jail at present.
On Sunday, the rape survivor and her lawyer were critically injured and two others (aunts of the survivor) killed when a speeding truck crashed into a car in which they were travelling in Rae Bareli. Uttar Pradesh police have booked Sengar, his brother and around a dozen others for murder, attempted murder and criminal conspiracy following the crash. The case was transferred to the CBI on Tuesday following protests by opposition parties and the victim’s family.
The girl’s mother had filed four transfer petitions in the top court and named 15 suspects, including Sengar, as respondents in the case. While three of them pertain to rape allegations made by her daughter, one is related to the case of illegal possession of arms that was registered against her husband.
Investigation of all four cases had been transferred to the CBI after it was alleged that the case against the rape survivor’s father was false and was registered as a counter to the rape complaint.
The survivor alleged that she had approached Sengar for a job in June 2017 — and she was kidnapped and raped for more than a week by him and others.
The girl’s family battled for a year before Sengar, a four-time MLA who represents Bangaramu in the UP assembly, was named in a police case for the rape and subsequently arrested in 2018.
On April 8, 2018, the girl attempted to immolate herself outside the residence of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to draw attention to the case.
The case was initially heard on April 16, 2019 by a bench of Supreme Court justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, who issued notices to all the suspects and the CBI, seeking their response to the petitions.
However, the notices were sent by the Supreme Court registry only on June 26, over two months after the court order.
According to the mother’s lawyer, RK Reddy, the matter has not been listed since then.
According to an office report of the Supreme Court registry prepared on July 26, four suspects are yet to receive the court notice as the addresses given in the petition are “insufficient.”
The SC registry report says the notice has been delivered to some respondents, including the main accused, Sengar, but “in respect of respondents 11 to 14 notices are shown as returned with remarks insufficient address, however, unserved notices have not been received so far”.
Reddy said the matter was heard by a registrar on July 29 for completion of pleadings. To ensure delivery of the notice, Reddy said, they agreed to do “dasti service”, which means service would be done personally by the petitioner. Though CBI has received the notice, the agency has not filed any response to the petition.
Reddy said as a lawyer, he was awaiting further instructions from the family to move an application to transfer the girl and her advocate — who were critically injured in Sunday’s accident — to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.
Another lawyer, Poonam Kaushik, said the families of the two were finding it difficult to procure an official medical report from the hospital where they have been admitted. “We cannot move the court without appropriate documents,” Kaushik explained.
In her request to transfer all the cases to Delhi, the survivor’s mother pointed out how her husband died while in custody. He was allegedly beaten up inside the court premises when he went to attend proceedings in his matter and was attacked by the associates of the main suspect in the rape case on April 3, 2018. The petition also highlights how the victim’s uncle was falsely charged in a criminal case pursuant to the registration of the rape case, prompting the family to move the court for transferring the case to Delhi.