On Friday December 20th, a Delhi court sentenced expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar to jail for his entire life for raping a woman in Unnao in 2017. Additionally, he was fined with Rs 25 lakh in the case which has to be paid within a month, the court ruled. It also directed that the rape survivor be paid an additional Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the mother of the victim.
“This court does not find any mitigating circumstance, Sengar was public servant and betrayed people’s faith,” the judge said while declining the plea for lenient approach in sentencing him.
The the court noted that conduct of 53-year-old Sengar was to intimidate the rape survivor.
Besides, the court directed the CBI to continue assessing threat perception to the life and security of the survivor and her family members every three months.
It said they will continue to reside in rented accommodation made available by Delhi Commission for Women for one more year and directed the UP government to pay Rs 15,000 per month for the rent.
The woman co-accused in the case Shashi Singh was acquitted of all charges saying that the CBI failed to prove that she was a co-conspirator with Sengar in the act of sexual assault committed upon the victim and “it appears that she herself was a victim of circumstances”.
The court had convicted Sengar for rape under the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act for offence by a public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child after holding the victim to be a minor in 2017. The court had said the victim’s testimony was “truthful and unblemished” against a “powerful person”. Convicting Sengar, under POCSO Act, the court said the CBI proved that the victim was a minor and he was rightly prosecuted under the special law.
The court had noted that it was proved by the prosecution that the movement of Sengar on the fateful day was not in sync with the movements of his three mobile SIM cards operating on his two mobile phones.
It had said that after the victim wrote letter to the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, several criminal cases were filed against her family and “imprints of Sengar” were visible in them.
In a separate case, the same woman was allegedly gang raped later by three other persons on June 11, 2017 in Unnao. The trial is yet to commence in that case. The court had also pulled up the CBI for the absence of women officer in conducting the probe “without bothering for the kind of harassment, anguish and re-victimisation that occurs for a victim of sexual assault”.
It said the CBI itself was not following the manual relating to investigation and prosecution.
On July 28 this year, the car of the rape 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.
The trial in the other four cases—framing of the rape survivor’s father in illegal firearms case, his death in judicial custody, conspiracy of Sengar with others in the accident case and the separate gang rape case of the survivor by three others—are going on in the court.