Bangarmau BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who was booked by the UP police on Thursday following nationwide uproar over rape allegations leveled by a 17-year-old minor in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, was taken into custody by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from his Lucknow residence in the wee hours of Friday. The division bench, comprising Chief Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale and Justice Suneet Kumar, passed this order when it was informed that the said MLA is detained but has not been arrested yet.
The CBI’s early morning move came a day after the Allahabad High Court came down heavily on the Yogi Adityanath government over Unnao case, asking it whether it proposes to arrest accused MLA as promptly as it does in other cases. The judges also made it clear that they would oversee the probe from now on. The court noted how the police had not acted on a rape complaint of the 16-year-old girl but rushed to register false cases against her family, and how her father was thrashed “by the brother and goons of Kuldeep Singh” before being arrested “on a petty offense”.
The alleged rape case came into the limelight after the victim tried to immolate herself outside Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence on Sunday, alleging police inaction against the BJP MLA. The victim alleged that she was raped by the MLA at his residence on June 4, 2017, where she had gone with a relative seeking a job.
After filing of the case, the victim’s father was booked by the police under the arms act on April 3 this year and was put in jail two days later. Subsequently, her father died in jail with post-mortem suggesting serious injuries on his body.
The CBI will now investigate three cases filed in Unnao. The three First Information Reports or FIRs, the first has Sengar as accused in the rape case. The second FIR is on rioting, in which four locals have been booked, and also the alleged killing of the victim’s father in judicial custody. Since the murder charge was added later by the police, it does not reflect in the central probe agency’s FIR. The third case pertains to allegations against the victim’s father, who was arrested under the Arms Act and jailed by the local police.
While the MLA told Times of India that the girl had been tutored to build a rape case against him following her abduction last year and the family dispute over village supremacy, the survivor, and her kin pressed for his arrest for fear of destruction of evidence.
Several audio and video evidence involving the girl, her uncle and rape survivor have surfaced over the past few days.
Also Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has finally spoken up on the arrest of BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in the Unnao rape case. Speaking to reporters, Adityanath said, “CBI arrested the MLA last night, we took immediate action to set up SIT after coming to know about the matter on April 9. We then sent the matter to CBI.” Adityanath also said that his government has zero tolerance policy towards crime and corruption.
Earlier on Thursday, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government had stated before the Allahabad High Court which had taken suo moto cognizance that there wasn’t concrete evidence against Sengar in the case, and hence, he wasn’t to be arrested.
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker on Wednesday also came in defense of his colleague Kuldeep Sengar, who is facing rape charges by a 17-year-old girl from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district, saying “it was impossible to rape a mother of three children”
Slamming the political opponents of the BJP for raising an accusing finger at the Uttar Pradesh government for the “delay in the MLA’s arrest”, Siddharth Nath Singh, Senior Uttar Pradesh minister and spokesperson of the state government, recalled how the then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had “shielded rape-accused minister” Gayatri Prajapati.
He also referred to Samajwadi Party (SP) patron Mulayam Singh Yadav’s remarks — “Should a rape accused be punished with hanging? Boys are boys, they make mistakes.”