Unnao Rape Case: Court Sentences Kuldeep Sengar to Life in Prison
Kuldeep Sengar broke down in the courtroom after he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar was sentenced for life for raping a woman in Unnao in 2017, a Delhi court said while delivering its judgment on 20 December.
District judge Dharmesh Sharma also imposed an exemplary fine of Rs 25 lakh which has to be paid within a month. 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.
Sengar broke down in the courtroom after he heard his sentenced. He was found crying along with his daughter and sister. Sengar has been convicted under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 5 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault of a child) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), as the court found that the girl was a minor at the time of the offence.
Convicted Under POCSO, But No Death Penalty
The court said the CBI proved that the victim was a minor and he was rightly prosecuted under the special law.
The recent amendments made in August this year in the POCSO Act, which carries a provision of death penalty, did not come into effect as the incident took place in 2017 before the law was amended.
Referring to the POCSO, the court had said there was “nothing wrong” with the law but its ineffective implementation on ground and lack of human approach of officers concerned led to delayed justice.
Court Pulls Up CBI for Delay
The court expressed surprise over the delay by the CBI in filing charge sheet in the gang rape case and said it had halted the progress against Sengar in the rape case.
The court had found that the delay of two months and ten days in reporting the crime of rape to the police was satisfactorily explained by the survivor.
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.
Victim’s Testimony Was ‘Truthful, Unblemished & of Sterling Quality’
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 conduct of 53-year-old Sengar was to intimidate the rape survivor, the court said.
The court had said the victim’s testimony was “truthful and unblemished” against a “powerful person”.
Imprints of Sengar Visible on Cases Filed Against Victim’s Family
The court said that after the victim wrote a letter to the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, several criminal cases were filed against her family and “imprints of Sengar” were visible on them.
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.
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”.
What Happens to Gang-Rape, Accident Case
In a separate case, the same woman was allegedly gang raped later by three other persons on 11 June, 2017 in Unnao. The trial is yet to commence in that case.
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.
(With inputs from PTI)
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