Former UP minister Gayatri Prajapati, 2 others get life term in gang-rape case
A special Lucknow court on Friday awarded life imprisonment to former Uttar Pradesh minister Gayatri Prajapati, and two others, Ashish Shukla and Ashok Tewari, in a gang-rape case, besides imposing a fine of ₹2 lakh each on the three convicted people.
Special judge (MP/MLA court) Pawan Kumar Rai had convicted Prajapati, Shukla and Tewari on November 10 on charges of gang-raping a Chitrakoot-based woman and under sections of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act for attempting to rape her minor daughter.
The court had absolved four others — Vikas Varma, Amrendra Singh “Pintu”, Chandrapal and Rupeshwar “Rupesh” — of all charges due to lack of evidence.
All the three accused were present in court on Friday when the quantum of punishment was pronounced.
On February 18, 2017, the woman from Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh had lodged an FIR against Prajapati and his six associates for allegedly gang-raping her and attempting to rape her 17-year-old daughter at his official residence in Gautampalli, Lucknow, when he was the mining minister and part of the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh between 2015 and 2016.
It was on the Supreme Court’s order that the Lucknow police had booked the former minister for rape and other serious charges, including sections of the POCSO Act.
Prajapati was in jail since March 15, 2017.
A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice AK Sikri on February 17, 2017, had ordered the Uttar Pradesh police to conduct an inquiry and submit an action taken report to the court in a sealed cover within eight weeks.
The Supreme Court order had come on a petition filed by the survivor.
Prajapati was sacked by then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav from his cabinet in 2016 during the family feud in the Samajwadi Party. He was later reinstated. The survivor’s lawyer had alleged in the Supreme Court that the woman was repeatedly raped between October 2014 and July 2016.
The woman lodged a complaint only when the minister tried to outrage the modesty of her minor daughter, the survivor’s lawyer said.
The survivor had complained that she was also raped when she met the former minister in 2013 for a mining contract. She also stated that Prajapati took obscene photos of her and raped her multiple times for three years by threatening to make the pictures public.
When the BJP formed the government in the state, it constituted a SIT in May 2017 to probe the charges against the former minister.
Prajapati is also facing a probe for irregularities in his ministry during his tenure as mining minister in the previous Samajwadi Party government.
TIMELINE OF THE CASE:
2013: The woman met Gayatri Prajapati at Ram Ghat, Chitrakoot, during Ganga Aarti.
2014 to 2016: She was raped multiple times.
October 17, 2016: Survivor filed a complaint about gang rape with DGP, Uttar Pradesh Police.
After no action was taken on her complaint, the survivor moved the Supreme Court seeking a FIR against the accused.
February 17, 2017: Supreme Court orders UP Police to lodge FIR .
July 18, 2017: Charges framed against Gayatri Prajapati, Ashok Tewari, Ashish Shukla and others.
November 10, 2021: Special judge (MP/MLA) court convicts Gayatri Prajapati, Ashok Tewari and Ashish Shukla.
The court acquits Vikas Varma, Amrendra Singh “Pintu”, Chandrapal and Rupeshwar “Rupesh” — of all charges due to lack of evidence.
November 12, 2021: Court awards life imprisonment to Gayatri Prajapati, Ashok Tewari and Ashish Shukla.