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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Accident could hamper Unnao case probe

The survivor is injured, her aunt has died, her uncle is in jail, and her lawyer is fighting for life.

lucknow Updated: Jul 30, 2019 00:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Lucknow
Supporters gathered for a silent protest in solidarity with the Unnao rape case victim, at India Gate in New Delhi on Monday.
Supporters gathered for a silent protest in solidarity with the Unnao rape case victim, at India Gate in New Delhi on Monday. (Burhaan Kinu/HT)
         

The death of the Unnao rape survivor’s aunt is a major jolt to the case because she was one of the key witnesses, legal experts said.

A senior police official familiar with the case said it was this aunt to whom the survivor had first narrated her ordeal. This person said the statement of this Delhi-based aunt would have carried weight.

“If the trial of the case is yet to start and the survivor’s aunt has not appeared before the court, this accident will have legal implications on the case,” admits IB Singh, senior advocate, Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court.

Another police official familiar with the investigation said the survivor herself is injured, her aunt has died, her uncle is in jail facing criminal charges, and her lawyer Mahendra Singh Chauhanis fighting for his life after being injured in the same accident where she was also injured. All of this will help the accused, he added on condition of anonymity.

This person said that the survivor’s father was assaulted and died in August 2018.

Interestingly, a witness to the father’s assault also died mysteriously.

The gang-rape survivor’s uncle has claimed that Mohammed Yunus, 32, a key witness in the attack on the survivor’s father, died in custody after being implicated in a case involving possession of illegal firearms.

Yunus ran a grocery shop near the intersection where the survivor’s father was allegedly attacked by the lawmaker’s brother and his aides on April 3, 2018.

Another person familiar with the matter said the entire case was being managed by the aunt and Mahendra Singh, a childhood friend of the jailed uncle.

“Singh decided to support his friend when the victim revealed her ordeal and her father was murdered in police custody. He did not give in to intimidation and allurement,” added this person who asked not to be named

Both the aunt and Singh became eyes and ears of the uncle, who was convicted in a separate case, this person said.

“They were extremely good in following up on complaints and court proceedings; they were working as a team. The aunt’s job was to represent the victim and Singh was tasked with the legal aspects.”

First Published: Jul 30, 2019 00:25 IST

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