New Delhi: The Delhi special court, which Monday convicted former Unnao BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar for allegedly raping a teenager in June 2017, made some stinging remarks against the CBI over its conduct during the investigation and the trial.
During the hearing, judge Dharmesh Sharma questioned the premier investigating agency on why it took over a year to file the charge sheet, saying the delay “halted” the progress of the trial.
The court’s order also alleged that the investigation suffered from a “patriarchal approach” and that it had “not been fair” to the survivor and her family members.
The woman, who was 16 years old at the time of the incident, alleged that Sengar had confined and raped her.
The court convicted Sengar under Sections 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, read with Sections 5(c) and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012.
The court has deferred his sentencing to Friday, 20 December.
Also read: Sengar, Akbar, Tejpal: Hearings in these cases less about justice, more about victim shaming
‘No woman officer, inordinate delay’
The court highlighted that the CBI had not appointed a woman officer to deal with the case and wondered why the investigating agency repeatedly summoned the survivor to its office.
“The investigation has not been conducted by a woman officer as mandated by Section 24 of the POCSO Act and successive statements of the victim girl ‘AS’ had been recorded by calling her at the CBI office without bothering for the kind of harassment, anguish and re-victimization that occurs to a victim of sexual assault in such case,” judge Sharma said.
Apart from slamming the CBI’s “patriarchal approach”, the Delhi court observed that the investigation had been unfair to the survivor and her family.
“In my considered opinion, this investigation has suffered from patriarchal approach or inherent outlook to brush the issues of sexual violence against the children under the carpet apart from exhibiting lack of sensitivity and humane approach,” judge Sharma said. “It appears that somewhere investigation in the instant case has not been fair qua victim of crime and her family members.”
In a stinging indictment on the agency, the local court accused it of selectively leaking statements, “versions of witnesses” and call record details (CDRs) to “put a cloud over the case of the complainant”.
“… I also find from the spate of application u/s 91 Cr.P.C moved on behalf of the accused persons that vital information concerning statements or version of witnesses and CDRs in RC no. 11(S)/2018 appears to have been selectively leaked thereby attempting to put a cloud over the case of the complainant party,” the judge ruled, adding that the CBI did not examine “huge data from the two mobile phones” that belonged to Shashi Singh, Sengar’s aide, and from two phones of prosecution witness Mahesh Singh.
The judge also wondered why the agency took over a year to file the charge sheet, noting that the CBI took over the case in April 2018 and completed the investigation by the end of July that year. The CBI finally filed the charge sheet in October 2019.
“The CBI has not explained the fact that when the investigation in the alleged kidnapping, illegal confinement and gang rape of the victim girl ‘AS’ in FIR No. 316/17 PS Makhi had been taken over by them on 13.04.2018 and it is also clear from the police report that almost entire investigation had been completed by the end of July 2018, what prevented the CBI from not filing the chargesheet /final report without any further delay and it was filed belatedly on 03.10.2019 after almost a year,” the court said.
Also read: She smiled after ages, says sister of Unnao rape survivor after Kuldeep Sengar’s conviction
Sengar had amazing clout, visible at each step of the journey. It took the death of the victim’s father to bring a sense of urgency to the matter. Consider the brazenness of the road “ accident “ and the lives it took.
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