A Delhi court Monday found former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar guilty of raping a minor girl in Unnao in 2017. The court will announce the quantum of punishment on December 18.
District and Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma who heard the case from August, delivered the verdict in a packed courtroom. Judge Sharma, however, acquitted co-accused Shashi Singh of all charges in the rape case after he found that the CBI failed to tie her link to the crime.
As the verdict was read out, Shashi started crying inside the court. Only when the Judge told the court that he is acquitting Singh, did the lawyers manage to pacify her. “Tu bari hogyi (you have been acquitted),” her lawyers told her as she sipped on a glass of water. Meanwhile, Sengar sat in a while a woman clasped his hands in hers and wept, while he nodded.
Explaining the verdict, the judge told the court that the victim had moments of despair and anxiety as she was pitted against a powerful person. “When she met with the Chief Minister ( Yogi Adityanath) there was a tirade unleashed upon the girl and her family members…multiple cases were filed against the family members of the girl…the prints of Kuldeep is quite visible,” the judge said.
The judge also pulled up the CBI over its investigation and stressed upon the need of women investigating officers while dealing with cases of crimes against women.
“In the gangrape case, the entire investigation was over by August 2018. I don’t know why it took you (CBI) so much time to file chargesheets. Very vital information given in strict confidence of IO was leaked. There should be a woman officer who should record the testimony. CBI called the girl so many times but did not go to her residence, which is a violation of the law. It was done without looking into her pain,” the judge said.
The case was heard on a day-to-day basis from August 5 after it was transferred to Delhi from a court in Lucknow on Supreme Court’s directions to wrap up the trial within 45 days.
The woman was allegedly kidnapped and raped by Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor. The court has also framed charges against co-accused Shashi Singh in the case. Sengar was expelled from the BJP in August 2019.
The court had on August 9 framed charges against the MLA and Singh under Sections 120 b (criminal conspiracy), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping or inducing a woman to compel for marriage), 376 (rape) and other relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
On July 28 this year, the car of the woman who had accused Sengar was hit by a truck after which she was severely injured. Her two aunts were also killed in the accident. The family had alleged foul play.
The girls’ father was also allegedly framed in an illegal arms case and arrested on April 3, 2018. He died while in judicial custody a few days later, on April 9. The local court here has framed murder and other charges against the MLA, his brother Atul and nine others in the case.
During the trial in the rape case which was held in-camera, thirteen prosecution witnesses and nine defence witnesses were examined.
A special court was also held at AIIMS hospital here to record the statement of the rape survivor, who was admitted after she was air-lifted from a hospital in Lucknow.
The woman and her family have been provided CRPF security as per the apex court’s orders. The court was also informed that the victim has shifted to rented accommodation in Delhi with the assistance of the Delhi Commission for Women.
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