New Delhi: A special court in Delhi convicted Kuldeep Singh Sengar, former BJP MLA from Unnao, for raping a teenager in June 2017.
The CBI had booked Sengar and one Shashi Singh under criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, criminal intimidation and sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO).
Reading out the verdict, the judge questioned why the CBI took one year to file the chargesheet, adding it halted progress of the trial.
The court gave a benefit of doubt to co-accused Shashi Singh, who had allegedly brought the girl to the MLA on the June 2017 night when she was confined and raped.
The verdict in the controversial case came over a year after the young woman alleged that Sengar assaulted her on several occasions from when she was an 11-year-old, confined her in his house, forced her to give up her studies and even threatened her of dire consequences if she ever raised her voice.
On the night of 4 June 2017, according to the FIR in the case, one Shashi Singh took the then 16-year-old to Sengar’s house. The MLA then allegedly took her to a room and raped her. When she resisted, he allegedly threatened to eliminate her entire family and dump their bodies.
The court had on 9 August 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 offences entail maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
The court heard the case on a day-to-day basis from 5 August after it was transferred to Delhi from a court in Lucknow on Supreme Court’s directions.
Controversies around the case
Earlier this year, the woman’s father died under mysterious circumstances. In July, the victim was severely injured in a car accident when she was on her way to Rae Bareli with her two aunts and lawyers. Both the aunts died of the injuries they sustained in the accident.
The victim’s mother, who too sustained injuries in the accident, called it a conspiracy by Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his associates.
The case came to light in April last year when the victim threatened to immolate herself outside Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence in April 2018, as, according to her, police refused to register a case when she complained to them in August 2017.
Sengar, a four-time BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Bangermau, was expelled from the party in August this year.