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Kuldeep Sengar held guilty in Unnao minor rape case

BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar. | File

BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar. | File   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Arguments on the quantum of sentence, which may extend to life imprisonment, will be heard on Wednesday.

A Delhi court on Monday held former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar guilty of raping a minor in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao in June 2017. Arguments on the quantum of sentence, which may extend to life imprisonment, will be heard on Wednesday.

The court said the victim’s testimony was unblemished, truthful and had been proved to be of “sterling quality” to arrive at the conclusion that she was sexually assaulted by Sengar. However, co-accused Shashi Singh got the benefit of doubt and was acquitted.

Watch | How Indian Laws on Sexual Crimes Have Evolved?
 

Sengar was convicted of committing offences under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, read with sections 5 (c) [public servant committing penetrative sexual assault on a child] and 6 [punishment of minimum 10 years, which may extend to life imprisonment, and fine] of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The judgment follows in camera proceedings in the case before District and Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma that began in August.

Judge pulls up CBI

Although stating that the CBI had proved Mr. Sengar's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the judge pulled it up for the delay of almost a year in filing the charge sheet in another case of gang rape of the victim.

“In my considered opinion, this investigation has suffered from patriarchal approach or inherent outlook to brush the issues of sexual violence against the children under the carpet, apart from exhibiting lack of sensitivity and humane approach. It appears that somewhere, investigation in the instant case has not been fair qua the victim of crime and her family members,” said the court.

The probe, it said, was not conducted by a woman officer as mandated under the POCSO Act and successive statements of the victim were recorded at the CBI office, “without bothering for the kind of harassment, anguish and re-victimisation that occurs to a victim of sexual assault in such case”.

On the delay of over two months in reporting the incident, the court said the victim and her mother explained that she had been threatened by Mr. Sengar to keep quiet or else she and her family members would not be spared. Soon after the incident was reported, a vicious tirade against her father and uncle began.

“It [the case] epitomises the fear ingrained in the mind of young girl in the countryside or elsewhere against reporting the issues of sexual assault by powerful adults,” said the court.

The incident took place on June 4, 2017. The matter came to limelight when the girl threatened to set herself ablaze outside the residence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on April 8 last year, alleging police inaction.

Days before that, the girl's father was allegedly framed in an Arms Act case and sent to judicial custody, where he died under mysterious circumstances on April 9, 2018.

The girl also alleged that about a week after the MLA raped her, she was again abducted by three of his associates, kept in confinement and gang-raped. The CBI is also pursuing that case.

The CBI took over the investigation of all the related cases in April last year and arrested Sengar. In the gang rape case, it filed a charge sheet against Shubham Singh, Naresh Yadav and Brijesh Tiwari.

In July last year, another charge sheet was filed against five persons, including Sengar's brother Atul, for their alleged involvement in the murder of the victim's father. His name was not mentioned. However, based on the findings, the court framed the charge of murder against the former BJP MLA, arraigning nine others on various counts.

The case of alleged assault on Sengar's brother by the victim's family members in April 2018 is also being probed.

The accident

Yet another case is of the accident involving a truck and a car in which the girl, her lawyer and two aunts were travelling in Rae Bareli on July 28. While her aunts died, the other two were admitted to a Lucknow hospital. The victim was later shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences' trauma centre, from where she was discharged in September.

The CBI filed a charge sheet against Sengar, his associates and the truck driver in October. However, charges of murder and attempted murder were not invoked. The driver has been accused of causing death by negligence, serious injuries and indulging in rash driving, while Sengar and the others face allegations of conspiracy and intimidation.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 2:01:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kuldeep-sengar-convicted-in-unnao-rape-case/article30319473.ece

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