The Centre on Thursday handed over the rape case involving Unnao BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Department of Personnel and Training said it was being done at the state government’s request.
The Centre’s move came after the Uttar Pradesh government announced it would transfer the 17-year-old Unnao girl’s alleged rape case and the subsequent death of her father in judicial custody to the CBI.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT), investigating the case, had submitted its report to the government Wednesday evening.
The Yogi Adityanath-led state government, which drew flak over the handling of the case, also asked the police to lodge an FIR against Sengar and others. The SIT submitted a video that purportedly shows the girl’s father saying Sengar’s brother, Atul, assaulted him in police presence. On Tuesday, Atul was the fifth person arrested in connection with the assault that led to the death of the girl’s father.
Earlier on Thursday, the Allahabad High Court questioned the Uttar Pradesh government over the delay in Sengar’s arrest. The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking its intervention in the case. A bench of Chief Justice D B Bhosale and Justice Suneet Kumar later reserved its decision until Friday after hearing the PIL.
Advocate General Raghvendra Singh and Additional Director General (Lucknow zone) Rajeev Krishna, who heads SIT, appeared before the court to share their findings and to explain the action taken.
Uttar Pradesh police chief O P Singh said the CBI would decide on the action against MLA on the basis of evidence. He was responding to a question regarding delay in Sengar’s arrest despite an FIR against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Singh said the SIT will collect evidence until the CBI takes over the probe.
In Lucknow, Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said the SIT officials recorded a statement of the victim, her mother and other family members. “On the basis of their statement, an FIR has been lodged against the MLA and a woman on rape and other charges. Statements of the MLA’s associates too were recorded.”
He added Unnao district hospital’s Chief Medical Superintendent D K Dwivedi, Emergency Medical officer and Dr Prashant Upadhyay had been suspended over alleged inaction in the case.
Kumar said disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against orthopaedic surgeon Manoj Kumar, surgeon GP Sachan and another medical officer Gaurav Agarwal for laxity in giving proper medical care and treatment before the girl’s father was sent to jail and later referred to the hospital. He said Safipur’s Circle Officer Kunwar Bahadur Singh had been suspended for negligence in handling the repeated rape complaints.
Kumar said the action against the doctors was taken on the basis of reports from different agencies. He said the alleged victim’s uncle told the SIT that she told her aunt about the rape on June 30, 2017.
The FIR against Sengar was lodged at Unnao’s Makhi police station under Indian Penal Code’s sections 376 (rape), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman for marriage, etc) and 506 (criminal intimidation) and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The woman was allegedly raped when one Shashi Singh from her village took her to the MLA’s place on June 4, 2017. In her complaint, her mother alleged she had attempted several times get an FIR registered but no action was taken.
DIG (prisons) Love Kumar has submitted a separate inquiry report into Unnao jail administration’s role during the detention of the alleged victim’s father. Unnao District Magistrate Ravi Kumar NG has filed a report into the lapses at the district hospital.