Unnao MLA Kuldeep Sengar booked for rape, CBI to probe case
The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday announced Sengar, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party, had been formally charged and handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.Updated: Apr 12, 2018 23:58 IST
Uttar Pradesh police lodged a first information report (FIR) on Thursday against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar for rape, criminal intimidation and abduction of a teenaged girl whose father died this week after an alleged assault by Sengar’s brother.
The state government handed over the investigation of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation as the Allahabad high court questioned the Uttar Pradesh government’s handling of the Unnao rape case, asking why Sengar hadn’t been arrested even after the FIR had been lodged.
The CBI will start a probe into the rape of the woman and the death of her father on Friday. In a notification, the Department of Personnel and Training said three cases registered at Makhi police station in Unnao will be investigated by CBI. People familiar with the development said a CBI team is likely to visit Unnao on Friday to take up the probe.
A Special Investigation Team constituted by the state government ,in a report submitted to chief minister Yogi Adityanath, had recommended the registration of an FIR against Sengar in the rape case and handing over of the investigation to the CBI.
“The UP government has handed the probe over to the CBI. No accused will be spared,” PTI quoted Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya as saying.
In the FIR lodged at Makhi police station in Unnao, the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, was also cited against the MLA. The girl’s date of birth, according to the FIR, is August 17, 2002, on the basis of which she is younger than 16. Previous reports have put her age at 18. The police complaint was lodged on the basis of the report submitted to the government by a SIT led by additional director general of police, Lucknow zone, Rajeev Krishna, on Wednesday night.
The FIR was lodged at around 2.50am on Thursday on the complaint of the girl’s mother.
According to the FIR, a man identified as Shashi Singh escorted the girl to the MLA’s residence in Makhi, Unnao, at around 8pm on June 4, 2017 on the pretext of getting her a job recommendation from the MLA.
The complainant alleged that the girl was held captive there and raped by the MLA in the presence of Shashi Singh, who was also named in the FIR for abetting the crime.
A senior police official said the MLA had been charged under Sections 363 and 366 (kidnapping of minor girl), 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). “Sections 3 and 4 of the POCSO Act have also been included in the FIR,” he said.
In the Allahabad high court, a bench comprising Chief Justice DB Bhosale and Justice Suneet Kumar heard advocate general of UP and amicus curiae (friend of the court) Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi, who had sought a court-monitored investigation of the case. The advocate general informed the court that an application had been sent to the chief minister’s office on August 17, 2017, in which allegations of rape were made against the MLA.
He said the application was forwarded to officers in Unnao for action. “Since no FIR was lodged by the police officers at that time, action is being taken against the errant officers as per departmental rules,” he said.
The bench asked when the government proposed to arrest Sengar, to which the advocate general replied that he was not in a position make a statement on the matter. “The police will proceed in accordance with law only after recording the statements of the complainant and witnesses,” he said. The advocate general said that in Uttar Pradesh, the police only made arrests after conducting an investigation.
Referring to the SIT report, the court said, “ In spite of SIT report, you are repeating that we can only take action after investigation. If this is the conduct of the police in the state, whom a victim will approach to register a complaint? If this is the stand you are repeatedly taking, then we will be forced to observe in our order that law and order has collapsed in the state.”
Amicus curiae and senior advocate Chaturvedi said that In cases involving heinous crimes like rape of a minor, the accused should be immediately arrested.
“On the one hand, the advocate general is seeking more time for investigation in the rape case before arresting the accused, claiming it to be a procedure followed in the state, while on the other, the victim’s father was arrested for possessing illegal firearm without any investigation,” he said.
The rape victim’s father died in judicial custody on Monday after the alleged assault by Sengar’s brother, Atul. Social workers and political parties organised protests to demand the arrest of Sengar. Former member of the Uttar Pradesh Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Nahid Lari Khan, said Sengar should be immediately arrested under the POSCO Act. “What is happening? It is really surprising that despite an FIR, the MLA has not been arrested as yet,” she said. “Police officials shielding the MLA should also be booked under the Act.” The women’s wing of the Congress took out a protest march demanding the arrest of the MLA.
President of the All-India Mahila Congress, Sushmita Dev, who led the march, said the role of UP police was highly questionable. “They are allowing the MLA to roam freely despite him being accused of committing a heinous crime. There is no rule of law in UP,” she said.
BSP chief Mayawati said PM Narendra Modi, who, with his colleagues, sat on a day-long fast on Thursday to protest disruptions in the second half of Parliament’s budget session, should “instead fast to protest against the misdeeds of BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar.”
“The police have lodged FIR against Sengar, accused in the rape of a minor girl, under POCSO Act and other serious sections of the IPC, but he has not been arrested yet. It clearly shows that ‘jungle raj’ prevails in the state. The Prime Minister should apologise to the people for the conduct of his party MLA. Since he represents Varanasi in Lok Sabha, the banks of Ganga will be appropriate for his repentance.”
First Published: Apr 12, 2018 23:37 IST