Why hasn’t Kuldeep Sengar been arrested yet, Allahabad high court asks Uttar Pradesh govt

BJP lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar has been booked for allegedly raping a 17-year-old girl last year in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao.
BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is accused of raping a minor girl, speaks to media in Lucknow on Wednesday.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)
BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is accused of raping a minor girl, speaks to media in Lucknow on Wednesday.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 12, 2018 09:29 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Allahabad | ByJitendra Sarin, Allahabad

Coming down strongly on the Uttar Pradesh government for not arresting Unnao rape accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar despite FIR registration, Allahabad high court on Thursday said the administration’s stand would force it to declare that “law and order has collapsed in the state”.

A bench comprising chief justice D B Bhosale and justice Suneet Kumar made the observation when state advocate general Raghvendra Singh sought more time for the police to complete the investigation to make the arrest.

Singh said three persons, including the MLA’s brother have been arrested in the case, but when asked about Sengar’s arrest, he said the police will proceed in accordance with law only, and repeatedly asserted that it would happen only after investigations.

Amicus curiae and senior advocate, Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi, who had sought a court-monitored investigation into the rape and death of the rape victim’s father in custody, said an SIT had conducted preliminary probe and filed a report after which an FIR was lodged, but the state government wanted to conduct further investigation before arresting the MLA.

“In spite of the SIT report, you are repeating that we (the government) can only take action after investigation. If this is the conduct of the police, whom will a victim approach to register a complaint?” the bench asked.

“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,” it said.

Initially, advocate general Singh told the court that an application was sent to the chief minister’s office on August 17, 2017, in which allegations of rape were made against the MLA. The application was forwarded to the officers concerned in Unnao for appropriate 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,” Singh said.

To this, the court said, “Medical officers and the police, all were hand-in-glove with the accused to save them, and you acted against those officers on the basis of this report. But to arrest the rape accused you need to do further investigation!”

Highlighting the government’s double standards, Chaturvedi said, “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.”

The girl’s father died in police custody after he was allegedly beaten up by the MLA’s brothers and his aides.

Advocate general Singh requested the court to adjourn the hearing to give police some time to investigate the case so that action could be taken if some prima facie case was made out against the accused.

“You took eight months to register the FIR. Do you want us to wait for eight more months so that you may investigate the case further?” the court asked.

After hearing both the sides, the court reserved its order for Friday.

The state police has handed over the case to the CBI and said that the central agency would take a call on Sengar’s arrest.

The victim girl, who tried to immolate herself outside chief minister Adityanath’s house on Sunday, has said the politician should be arrested immediately and said she feared for her uncle’s safety.

The demands to arrest Sengar grew shriller as social workers and oppostion parties organised protests on Thursday. They questioned the reluctance on the part of the state police to arrest him despite allegations of rape and the registration of the first information report.

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