Expelled four-time BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar was convicted of kidnapping and raping a young girl from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district two years ago.
The judge praised the rape survivor for “fighting against a powerful person” even after assassination attempt that was reportedly orchestrated by Kuldeep Sengar while he was in jail.
The judge also slammed the foisting of false cases against her family and questioned the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over delays in filing a chargesheet.
Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday with the maximum possible punishment being life imprisonment. A second accused – Shashi Singh, who was accused of taking the rape survivor to Kuldeep Singh Sengar was acquitted on “benefit of doubt”.
District Judge Dharmesh Sharma heard the case at Delhi’s Tis Hazari court on a day-to-day basis from August 5 after it was transferred to Delhi from a Lucknow court on the Supreme Court’s directions.
The judge also lashed out at the insensitivity of investigating officers in repeatedly summoning the rape survivor to the CBI offices without concern for the trauma she was facing.
“The investigation has not been conducted by a woman officer, as mandated by POCSO Act, and successive statements (were) recorded by calling her to CBI office without bothering about harassment, anguish and re-victimisation that occurs to a victim of sexual assault,” he declared.
The Unnao rape case exposed the callousness of police and administration with politicians. Despite criticism the ruling BJP acted only a year after his arrest for rape.
The rape complaint was only registered after she went public last year, staging a protest outside Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home and threatening to set herself on fire if she was not heard.
She took the desperate step after her father was thrashed by Kuldeep Sengar’s brother, allegedly framed in an illegal arms case and arrested on April 3 last year. He died while in judicial custody a few days later, on April 9.
Earlier this year the girl had written to the Supreme Court alleging grave danger to her life and those of her family members. The letter related incidents between July 7 and 8, when some people allegedly associated with Sengar threatened her family
In July another horrific twist to an already tragic case was revealed after the rape survivor was travelling with her advocate and two aunts when their car was hit by a speeding truck, with blackened number plates, in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli district. Two of her aunts – one of whom was a witness to the rape – died in the accident.
The rape survivor’s family had alleged the crash was a “plot to eliminate” her. None of the security personnel deputed to guard her accompanied her on that fateful trip.