Lawmaker Kuldeep Sengar, who once taunted police, weeps after guilty verdict
Four-time Uttar Pradesh lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar was on Monday convicted by a Delhi Court of raping a 16-year-old girl in 2017 when she approached him for help to get a job . The trial against the lawmaker had been shifted to Delhi on orders of the Supreme Court this year. The court will hear arguments on the quantum of punishment from Tuesday.
The teenager and her family had struggled to get the Uttar Pradesh police to act against the influential lawmaker from the Bharatiya Janata Party for months.
When she persisted, her father was allegedly thrashed by the lawmaker’s brother and arrested on charges of possessing an illegal firearm in April 2018. She appeared to give up hopes of justice and reached Yogi Adityanath’s residence to commit suicide.
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That act of desperation triggered massive outrage against the way the police had tried to shield the lawmaker and his brother Atul Singh. The MLA’s brother was arrested. But it was only after the Allahabad High Court stepped in and forced the police that Kuldeep Sengar was also arrested.
Almost immediately, the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
“A tirade was unleashed upon the girl and her family members... where imprints of the accused Sengar was quite visible,” judge Dharmesh Kumar said, reading out the verdict.
Kuldeep Sengar, once a powerful lawmaker, was in tears.
But judge Dharmesh Sharma who pronounced the guilty verdict for 53-year-old Sengar did not acquit the Central Bureau of Investigation, which eventually probed the case, either.
The court observed that the CBI was late in filing the charge sheet which had delayed the trial. The court also noted that officers investigating the case had been insensitive to the young girl who was summoned to the CBI office on several occasions rather than going to her house to get their answers.
It also noted how Sengar and his associates had brought immense pressure upon the rape survivor who had fought back in face of non-stop threats.
In July this year, the rape survivor’s two aunts were killed when they were accompanying her in a car to a court for hearing in a related case. A murder case was registered by the CBI on her family’s suspicion that the car crash was a murder conspiracy at the lawmaker’s instance. It was around this time - when the Supreme Court took cognisance of the case - that the BJP announced that Sengar had been expelled from the party. As an exception, the top court also shifted the trial to Delhi and ordered the CBI to step up.