A day after the Unnao rape victim and her lawyer were critically injured and two of her aunts killed in a road accident, the Rae Bareli police Monday lodged an FIR against BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is in jail on charges of rape, and his brother Manoj. Both, along with eight others, have been charged with murder and attempt to murder at the Gurubakshganj police station.
The woman was injured Sunday afternoon when the car in which she, her lawyer and two aunts were travelling collided with a truck, which had one number plate blacked out, in Gurubakshganj. The truck owner and the driver have been detained on charges of conspiracy. The woman’s uncle has accused Sengar of planning the accident and alleged that the truck owner is an associate of the MLA. The woman was on her way to visit her uncle, who is in the Rae Bareli district jail, when the accident took place.
Even as the Uttar Pradesh government decided Monday to transfer accident case to the CBI, the woman and her lawyer, admitted at King George’s Medical University (KGMU) Trauma Centre in Lucknow, are in critical condition, according to doctors.
Doctors said both have suffered multiple fractures and head injuries and are on ventilator support at the critical care unit. “The woman has a head injury, chest injury and a fracture in the right femur bone. However, the initial CT scan is not showing this but we suspect an internal head injury as the girl is unconscious… The chest injury, which appears to be the most serious, has caused blood to collect in her lungs, preventing it from expanding normally…The girl also has problems breathing,” said Dr Sandeep Tiwari, head of the KGMU Trauma Centre.
“The lawyer also has a Diffuse Axonal Injury on his head and multiple fractures. He also has several external injuries all over his body. Among the two, his condition is comparatively more serious. He has respiratory problems because of the head injury.”
And as outrage mounted against the state government and BJP, with Opposition parties even disrupting Rajya Sabha proceedings over the incident, the BJP is yet to take visible action against its MLA. A BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh said: “The party has to take action against the MLA. There is no other way. The delay is damaging the image of the party and its leaders.”
“We are investigating the case. The government has already offered the family that this also can be handed over to the CBI,” Sidharth Nath Singh, senior UP minister told The Indian Express.
According to the central BJP leadership, however, taking action against the MLA was up to the state unit. While BJP state President Swatantra Dev Singh refused comment on why his party has not taken action against Sengar, party spokesperson Harish Srivastava said the BJP and the state government stands with the victim and not with the guilty.
He said that the accident is unfortunate and the government will look into all the aspects, irrespective of the status of anyone involved. “We have also agreed to recommend a CBI probe and are ready to give them all support. The party treats the common man and party functionary equally and would never stand with the guilty. The government is doing its job and even the CBI is conducting its probe and if anyone is guilty, they will not be spared,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Rae Bareli, a team of forensic experts were sent from Lucknow to collect evidence and sources said the car and truck will also be sent for technical examination. The Rae Bareli police Monday recreated the crime scene to determine the sequence of events.
In the FIR, the woman’s uncle alleged that police personnel deployed for her security had given information about her whereabouts to Sengar’s associates. He said the suspicion is real since no police personnel, deployed for her security, were present in the car she was travelling in. Nine police personnel were deployed for her security and three of them, including a gunner, were to travel with her at all times.
SP Unnao Madhawa Prasad Verma said that the woman had asked her security escort not to accompany them Sunday as there was no space in the vehicle. “We are probing the matter and verifying statements given by police personnel. No action against any police personnel has been taken so far,” he said.
Incidentally, the truck involved in the accident had one number plate blacked out, on which UP ADG Rajeev Krishna said, “The owner told police that he could not pay instalments for the truck and feared the finance company may take away his vehicle. That’s why he blacked out the number plate.”
The police have also detained the truck’s owner Debendra, who purchased vehicle last year, along with the truck’s driver Ashish Pal and cleaner Mohan — all residents of Fatehpur district. SP Rae Bareli, Sunil Kumar Singh said there were no criminal cases against Ashish, Mohan or Debendra.
The woman’s uncle has also alleged that his wife, who died in the accident, and others had told him that Sengar and his associates regularly pressurised them to change their statements in court. The uncle claimed that Sengar’s associates also threatened to kill his family in a road accident if they failed to strike a compromise with him.
— Liz Mathew, Maulshree Seth
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