Expelled BJP legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar being brought to court. (File)
A Delhi court Monday pronounced former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar guilty of abducting and raping a minor in Unnao in 2017. However, co-accused Shashi Singh has been acquitted in the case. The quantum of punishment will be decided on December 18.
"Sengar was a powerful person, the victim was a village girl, not from a cosmopolitan educated area which led to delay in filing case. I found her statement truthful, unblemished that she was sexually assaulted and under threat," the court said.
The Court also referred to vendetta against the victim, and said that several cases were filed against her family members after she wrote to the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. The court pulled up the CBI for the delay in filing chargesheet in the case and said it prolonged trial against Sengar.
Sengar broke down in court after hearing the verdict. According to news agency PTI, he was seen crying beside his sister.
District Judge Dharmesh Sharma convicted Sengar for rape under IPC and POCSO Act for the offence of public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child. The offences entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. Read in Malayalam
The court had framed charges against Sengar and Singh under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping or inducing a woman to compel for marriage), 376 (rape) and other relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Post-verdict, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he hoped that Sengar would serve his punishment and no effort would be made to save him.
"BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar was found guilty on the day Nirbhaya rape (incident) completed seven years. A powerful politician will face punishment for his actions due to strict monitoring by the Supreme Court. I hope no effort will be made to save him any longer," Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Now aged 19, the woman was kidnapped and raped by Sengar in 2017. He was arrested in April last year, days after the girl threatened to set herself ablaze in front of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's home in Lucknow if the police didn't file her complaint. Sengar, a four-time BJP MLA from UP's Bangermau, was expelled from the party in August 2019.
On July 28 this year, the car of the victim 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. A special court was also held at AIIMS Hospital to record the statement of the woman, who was admitted there after being rushed from a hospital in Lucknow.
Her father was allegedly framed in an illegal arms case and arrested on April 3, 2018. He died in judicial custody a few days later, on April 9. A local court has framed murder and other charges against the MLA, his brother Atul and nine others in the murder case.
The victim had written a letter to the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, stating she faced threats by Sengar. The case was shifted outside Uttar Pradesh after that. During the trial in the rape case, which was held in-camera, thirteen prosecution witnesses and nine defence witnesses were examined. The mother and uncle of the rape survivor were the main witnesses in the case.