‘Then fly them in’: SC insists on presence of CBI officers in Unnao rape case
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who had appeared unhappy yesterday that a letter requesting help sent by the Unnao rape survivor had not been placed before him, on Thursday signaled the top court’s determination to quickly take a call on the teenager’s SOS.
The top court, which has also received requests to transfer the case against the powerful ruling BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar, indicated that it was inclined to accept the request but wanted to hear a “responsible” CBI officer before passing the order. The court gave the CBI director time till 12 noon to ensure the presence of the CBI officer.
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Solicitor General Tushar Mehta came back to the top court a few minutes later to request the judges to adjourn the hearing for a day, pointing out that federal agency’s officers familiar with the court were in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao and would need time to head back to the national capital. Unnao is about 65 km from state capital Lucknow and a little over 500 km from Delhi.
Chief Justice Gogoi was reluctant.
‘CBI must be having its own plane. The officers can be brought back,” the Chief Justice shot back, apparently in a lighter vein.
The top court had yesterday made it clear that it was going to hear the case on Thursday.
The CBI doesn’t have a dedicated aircraft but top government officials do use military aircraft such as the Gulfstream operated by the Cabinet Secretariat’s Aviation Research Centre or the Border Security Force’s crafts.
The rape survivor and her lawyer have been battling for life in Lucknow’s King George’s Medical University since a car crash, which her family have blamed the lawmaker of masterminding.
The collision took place when the woman, who has accused the BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar of raping her on the pretext of arranging a job for her, was returning after meeting her uncle, lodged in Rae Bareli prison in a case of firing a gun and attempt to murder registered against him in Unnao in 2000.