Lucknow: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) says it has found telling evidence that BJP legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar implicated the father of the girl who has accused him of rape.
Sengar, a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Bangermau in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district, is in jail facing rape charges. In June last year, a minor girl had accused Singh and his brother of raping her. She had told the court that the police were not allowing her to name Sengar as an accused in her statement.
Complaining of police harassment, her family had left the village within a month of filing the plaint. On 3 April, the girl's family came to Unnao for hearing of the case, which was when the MLA's brother Atul Singh Sengar and his aides reportedly assaulted her father.
The girl's father was handed over to the police, which booked him on the charges of illegally possessing a firearm. Five days later, the girl attempted suicide in front of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's house in Lucknow, demanding an FIR against the MLA. The next day, her father passed away within hours of being shifted to the district hospital for treatment of his injuries.
The CBI, which was asked to probe the case, sifted through the phone call records of the MLA, his wife and a few policemen of Makhi police station in Unnao.
Requesting anonymity, a senior investigating official said the findings point at a collusion between Sengar and the policemen to frame the girl's father.
He said two policemen " station house officer Ashok Singh Bhadauria and sub-inspection Kamta Prasad Singh " posted at Makhi police station called Sengar and his close aide Tinku Singh more than 15 times in the four days following the arrest of the girl's father. These policemen were arrested on Wednesday.
Stating that probe is still under way, the officer said they have major evidence about the custodial death. He said the CBI pored over the documents about the arrest of the girl's father and found they were forged. He informed that the FIR the police has filed against the girl's father says he was brandishing a country-made pistol, firing shots in the air, hurling abuses and creating a ruckus in the village. He said no weapon was recovered from the girl's father and it was apparent that he was wrongly booked and jailed. He further informed that it is Sengar's aforesaid aide who lodged the police complaint against the girl's father. He's an accountant at a brick kiln.
Also, while the police report says the girl's father was arrested from the village, the complainant's statement says the villagers had brought him to the police station. The CBI intends to grill the policemen in question over such inconsistencies.
The CBI officer said they would interrogate Sengar again over the custodial death. The investigating agency is also planing to bring the MLA and the policemen face-to-face for questioning. Also, the CBI has issued notice to 14 villagers of Makhi and summoned them to Lucknow on Monday for questioning them regarding the circumstances of the girl's father's arrest.
Victim's family upbeat
The rape survivor's uncle expressed satisfaction with the CBI's probe and said it validates what they have been claiming from the beginning, that policemen killed his brother in the jail at Sengar's behest. He said nobody heeded them at first but now their claim stands vindicated. He exuded confidence that the CBI would soon find out how the police framed and killed his brother, who was merely fighting for his daughter. He highlighted that although his brother was booked for possessing a firearm, the police could not produce the pistol in question.
He said this shows how low the policemen can stoop to be in the good books of their masters.
The rape survivor's uncle also said the family is now waiting for the CBI probe to get over, after which they will seek legal advice on how to ensure maximum punishment for the guilty.
Meanwhile, the MLA's nephew Prakhar Singh told Firstpost that it was his uncle who was being framed by the girl and her family. He insisted that all the allegations against the MLA are false, politically motivated and aimed at tarnishing his reputation. He highlighted that his uncle could have easily left Unnao if he were guilty but instead he surrendered and was cooperating in the investigation.
Asked to comment on these developments, BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said saying anything at this stage would be premature. He noted that investigation is still under way and people should wait for the final report. He further questioned that what if the rape charges were proven to be false. He added that the BJP is not protecting the MLA in any manner and pointed out that it is the state government that ordered the CBI inquiry. He said senior leaders will take a call on whether or not to keep Sengar in the partyfold.
Saurabh Sharma is a Lucknow-based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.