New Delhi: The verdict in the rape case involving former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar is expected Monday. Sengar, who has been an MLA from Unnao for 17 years, was arrested last year for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in the Uttar Pradesh district in June 2017.
The girl had 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.
The case came to light after the young woman threatened to immolate herself outside 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.
A lot has happened since: The woman’s father died under mysterious circumstances after allegedly being attacked inside jail by Sengar’s associates while her uncle was arrested in a cross-FIR filed by Sengar’s associates.
Then, in July, the survivor was severely injured while she was on her way to Rae Bareli with her two aunts and lawyers, after the vehicle she was travelling in collided with a truck. While two of her aunts succumbed to their injuries, the woman and her lawyer were admitted to a hospital in critical condition.
With a lower court in Delhi set to pronounce the verdict against Sengar Monday, ThePrint takes a detailed look at the Unnao rape case.
Rape, gangrape and a father’s death
According to the FIR, it was on the night of 4 June 2017 that 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 the survivor resisted, he threatened to eliminate her entire family and dump their bodies, the FIR states.
It says, Shashi was present in the verandah while the teenager was being raped.
Seven days after the incident, the woman was allegedly abducted by three men in an SUV and for the next nine days, she was allegedly kept intoxicated and gang-raped, and repeatedly moved to different locations.
She also alleged that the trio, who she claimed were Sengar’s associates, also tried to “sell her off”.
After her mother reported her missing, police launched a search. When the abductors allegedly found out that police were on their trail, they dropped her back.
A case was filed on 20 June 2017 and the three suspected assailants — Shubham Singh, Brijesh Yadav and Awadh Narayan — were arrested.
The survivor’s mother has said that from the beginning, she had alleged abduction but police didn’t register a case, instead treating it as a missing person’s complaint.
Once back home, she left Unnao for Delhi to stay with her uncle and aunt.
It is only later, in the month of August 2017, that the woman confided in her aunt and told her about the sexual assault by Sengar and his aides. The survivor has claimed that her aunt then told her father about the assault, following which he approached police.
She then lodged a complaint against Sengar and his associates in August 2017 but police allegedly did not register a case against the BJP MLA. The woman has said that she even approached a local court, to direct the police to register a case, but was not heard.
On 8 April 2018, she then went to the house of CM Yogi Adityanath and attempted to immolate herself. That is when she was heard and a complaint by her mother was received.
The FIR registered later named Sengar and Shashi Singh as the main accused.
On 6 April 2018, two days before the woman tried to immolate herself, her father was allegedly attacked by the MLA’s brother Atul and their associates to force the family to not approach the police.
The ensuing brawl spawned two police complaints — one by the survivor’s family and the other by the alleged assaulters. While her father was arrested, the MLA’s brother was not even booked.
The woman’s father died that week after succumbing to his injuries in police custody.
CBI takes over case
The CBI took over investigation in the case in April 2018 and filed four separate FIRs.
While one was a case of rape of a minor (since she was a minor at the time of the incident) based on her complaint, another was on the assault and death of her father in police custody.
The third case relates to her being allegedly gang-raped by three men, including the son of Sengar’s associate Shashi Singh. The Allahabad High Court had recommended that the case be investigated by the CBI.
A fourth case was filed on a cross-complaint by the MLA’s brother alleging assault by the rape survivor’s relatives.
Sengar was arrested on 13 April 2018 and sent to judicial custody. Since then, charge sheets have been filed in the first three cases.
In the charge sheet of the rape case, filed on 11 July 2018, the CBI has accused Sengar and Shashi Singh of sexual assault of a minor. They were also been booked under criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, criminal intimidation and sections of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences).
In the second case, regarding the custodial death of the survivor’s father, a charge sheet was filed against five people. While the MLA’s name was not included in the second charge sheet, his brother Atul Singh Sengar was named.
A Delhi court, however, on August 2019 framed charges against Sengar and nine others in connection with the case. The accused have been charged with murder, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint, criminal conspiracy, false evidence under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The charges were framed against 10 people, including Sengar, his brother, Makhi police station in-charge Ashok Singh Bhadoria, sub-inspector Kantapratap Singh and constable Amir Khan, among others under several sections, including 166 (public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person) and 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury) of the IPC.
In the third case, the CBI in October this year charge-sheeted three people — Shubham Singh, son of Shashi Singh, Naresh Tiwari and Brijesh Yadav — for allegedly gang-raping the woman in a moving car.
The accident and the ‘conspiracy’
On 28 July, when the survivor was on her way to Rae Bareli with her lawyer, two aunts and mother, the car she was traveling in was hit head-on by a speeding truck that was on the wrong side of the road.
Two of the woman’s aunts died while she and her lawyer sustained severe injuries.
Her mother who too sustained injuries in the accident called it a conspiracy by Sengar and his associates.
While the CBI registered a case in the matter, Sengar was not charged with murder but with criminal conspiracy.
In October this year, however, the CBI filed a charge sheet in the case stating that it could not establish a “conspiracy” in the case and the head-on collision was due to the negligence of truck driver Ashish Pal.