AFTER QUESTIONING him through the day, the CBI arrested BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, accused of raping a 17-year-old in Unnao in June 2017, on Friday night. The action came hours after the Allahabad High Court ordered the MLA’s immediate arrest, saying that the “law and order machinery” was “directly in league and under the influence of” Sengar. Pulling up the state police and administration, the bench of Chief Justice D B Bhosale and Justice Suneet Kumar, in its 20-page order, said: “The SIT report reveals as to how police personnel and doctors were/ are under the influence of Kuldeep Singh and how they tampered with evidence and tried to create terror and intimidated the prosecutrix and her family members. The disturbing feature of the case is that the law and order machinery and the government officials were directly in league and under the influence of Kuldeep Singh.”
“What is disturbing… is that the father of the prosecutrix, for no reason, came to be arrested and was in custody, where, we are informed, he was mercilessly beaten and succumbed to injuries,” said the court.
The court had on Thursday questioned the state government over the delay in Sengar’s arrest. The judges took strong objection to Advocate General Raghvendra Singh’s submission that Sengar would not be arrested on mere registration of the FIR.
“The approach of the learned Advocate General is not only appalling but shocks the conscience of the Court in the backdrop of the instant case… (It) not only exudes an unpleasant flavour, but raises doubts about the bona fides of the police authorities at the highest level,” it said.
“The arrest of the accused in the circumstances can be considered justified and necessary, not only to restrain his movement but also to infuse confidence in the victim and her family members of fair investigation and to restrain the accused from influencing the investigation and tampering with evidence and witnesses,” the court said.
“The Investigating Officer/ CBI, as the case may be, shall arrest Kuldeep Singh and the other accused for the offences punishable under Sections 363, 366, 376, 506 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of POCSO Act forthwith and carry out further investigation within the time stipulated under the provisions of CrPC,” it said.
“The CBI may also consider whether cancellation of bail of all the accused in Crime No. 0316 of 2017 is necessary for carrying out free and fair further investigation,” it said, as it asked the agency to submit a status report by May 2.
The court also directed the CBI “carry out further investigation/ re-open the investigation of the crime (rape) registered on 20 June 2017, alongwith other three crimes”. The court thus struck down the Advocate General’s submission that the state government had transferred only the three recent cases, including assault and murder of the victim’s father, to the CBI, “leaving (out) the first FIR (of rape) of 2017.”
The bench passed the order on a letter written by senior advocate Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi demanding a court-monitored investigation of the case, which was treated as a PIL.
Meanwhile, CBI sources said the co-accused in the rape case, Shashi Singh, is yet to be arrested. Sengar will be produced before the CBI court in Lucknow on Saturday.