On Monday 16th December 2019, Delhi high court convicted former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar for the rape of a minor woman in Unnao in 2017.
Sengar has been convicted under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 5 (penetrative sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) as the girl was a minor at the time of the offense
The court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence on Wednesday. The offenses entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
Sengar, a four-time BJP MLA from UP’s Bangermau, 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.
The apex court, taking cognisance of the rape survivor’s letter written to the former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, had on August 1 transferred all five cases registered in connection with the Unnao rape incident from a Lucknow court in Uttar Pradesh to the court in Delhi with directions to hold trial on daily basis and completing it within 45-days.
The judge heard the case on a day-to-day basis from August 5.
On July 28 this year, the car of the survivor was hit by a truck and she was severely injured. The woman’s two aunts were killed in the accident and her family had alleged foul play.
Her father was 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 in Delhi had framed murder and other charges against the MLA, his brother Atul and nine others in the case.
The judge had some strong criticism for various authorities involved in this case from the start. He noted that the officials designated under the POCSO Act who were supposed to help victims were not sensitive.
He also pointed out that there had been serious violations of procedure and law in the conduct of the investigation, whether how a woman officer didn’t conduct the examination of the survivor as mandated under Section 24 of the POCSO Act, as well as the way the CBI kept calling her multiple times to their office.
Judge Sharma also pulled up the CBI for ignoring the intimidation the girl faced in the village, and questioned why the CBI took till August 2019 to file its chargesheet in the case, when the work needed for this had already been completed by October 2018.
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.
The local court in Delhi has framed murder and other charges against the MLA, his brother Atul and nine others in the case.
The trial in the other four cases — framing of the rape survivor’s father in illegal firearms case and his death in judicial custody, conspiracy of Sengar with others in the accident case and a separate case of gang rape of the rape survivor by three others —are ongoing in the court.