Unnao case; all you need to know: CBI books BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in 29 July accident case as rape survivor battles for life in Lucknow
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered an FIR against suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and 10 others in the road accident case of the Unnao rape survivor.
In April 2018, the 18-year-old had attempted to commit suicide by self-immolation outside Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence alleging rape by Kuldeep Sengar
In response to the survivor's complaint, Senger had pleaded innocent, saying that it was a 'pre-planned incident'
On 28 July, an overspeeding truck hit the car in which the survivor was travelling with her lawyer and two aunts, leading to the kin's death and her being critically injured
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered an FIR against suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and 10 others in the road accident case of the Unnao rape survivor. The agency has also registered a case against 20 unknown persons under charges of criminal conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder and criminal intimidation.
According to reports, the team will start its probe by visiting the crime scene on Wednesday. The move comes after the central government on Tuesday handed over the probe to the CBI. An order from the Department of Personnel and Training said the case is being handed over to the agency to probe "abetment and conspiracies" in the accident.
Meanwhile, as per the latest reports, the condition of the survivor remains critical. “The condition of the woman is serious and she is on a ventilator. She has been unconscious since the time of the accident. She suffered serious head injuries and multiple fractures in legs,” News18 quoted the hospital sources. “Several chest pipes have been inserted in her body to assist her lung functioning. There is bleeding in her lungs. More than the head injury, it is the fractures and injuries to her lungs that have made her condition critical,” the sources added. They further said that she is unable to breathe on her own and on a life support system, and her blood pressure is also fluctuating.
On Sunday, the car in which the teenager, her two aunts and lawyer were travelling in was hit by an overspeeding truck in Rae Bareli, killing the two family members and leaving her and the advocate critically injured. The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday filed a murder case against Sengar and nine others after the survivor's kin filed a complaint, alleging conspiracy behind the accident.
On Tuesday, a letter — dated 12 July 2019 — had surfaced in which the survivor wrote to the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi seeking "action against those who are making threats". According to reports, the rape survivor's kin alleged that they were being constantly threatened by Sengar's aides.
"People came to my house and threatened to take back the (rape) case, otherwise the whole family will be put in jail in fake cases (sic)," the letter states.
According to India Today's report, two instances of threatening behaviour were quoted by the family members in the letter addressed to the CJI. They have mentioned that Sengar's brother Manoj Singh and his accomplice Shashi Singh's husband and son had come to their home and threatened them with dire consequences if they don't withdraw their case against the MLA.
The rape case
In April 2018, the 18-year-old had attempted to commit suicide by self-immolation outside Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow alleging that Sengar had raped her in the June of 2017 (when she was 17) and threatened her when she lodged an FIR.
In response to the survivor's complaint, Senger had pleaded innocent, saying that it was a “planned incident” and that the survivor’s family was trying to “defame him”.
The teenager had also alleged then that the local police did not act on the FIR that she had filed three months ago and had wrongfully arrested her father, who reportedly died in police custody later. He was booked by the police under the Arms Act on 3 April, 2018, and put in jail after two days and while in prison, he was allegedly beaten up by the brother of the MLA, Atul Singh Sengar and his aides.
Following the father’s death, Atul Singh Sengar was arrested along with four associates of the MLA, by the Uttar Pradesh Crime Branch and a high-level inquiry was ordered into the incident.
The National Human Rights Commission subsequently issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, the state’s police chief, the chief secretary and the director-general of police, asking for a detailed report of the case. They also requested that “the aggrieved family is not subjected to further harassment”. The state government ordered the police to hand over the case to the CBI and Sengar was eventually arrested on 12 April, 2018. CBI further submitted a status report on the case on 2 May, 2018.
In August 2018, a key witness in the case — Yunus Khan — died in his village and was buried without the CBI being informed. The local police reportedly said that the witness suffered from a liver ailment.
The survivor’s uncle had said Yunus, 32, was the key witness in the attack on the survivor’s father, who later succumbed to his injuries in judicial custody. Yunus ran a grocery shop at the same intersection in the Makhi area where the survivor’s father was attacked by the lawmaker’s brother and his aides. He claimed that CBI had recorded Yunus’s statement and made him the key witness in the case.
Yunus wife Shabeena tried to commit suicide near the chief minister’s residence in protest against exhumation of his body.
The road accident
On 28 July, an overspeeding truck hit the car in which the survivor was travelling with her lawyer and two aunts to Rae Bareli to meet her uncle, who is lodged in jail, police said. The survivor and the lawyer sustained grievous injuries while her aunts lost their lives in the accident. The survivor is critical as she has sustained multiple fractures and damage to her lungs and is on a ventilator at the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) Trauma Centre in Lucknow, according to television news reports.
The police confirmed that one gunner and two women constables, who have been assigned round-the-clock duty for the safety of the survivor and her family, were not present at the time of the accident. Police officials were able to retrieve the number from the blackened registration plate of the truck and inferred that it was from Fatehpur. The truck has been impounded and the driver arrested.
Meanwhile, an FIR has been registered against Sengar, his brother Manoj Singh Sengar and eight others in connection with the accident, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including murder and criminal intimidation.
The incident has caused national outrage with several politicians including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, and Priyanka Chaturvedi condemning it and demanding a fair and just probe.
Action taken so far
Meanwhile, after the NCW's letter to the Uttar Pradesh Police to ensure a fair and speedy probe in the case, their team reached Lucknow to meet the survivor, her family, the DGP, IO, and SSP. As per a report by ANI, they met the mother of the survivor but couldn't meet the latter as doctors advised against it.
"The Commission is seriously concerned about the unfortunate incident. Considering the gravity of the matter, it is requested to ensure absolutely free, fair and speedy investigation into the matter and take action deemed appropriate for the crime committed," the NCW said in its notice to UP DGP OP Singh on Monday. "The Commission also demands that the NCW be kept apprised at every stage of the investigation," read the notice.
Meanwhile, according to latest reports, police have said that the truck that rammed into the rape survivor's car is owned by Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Nandu Pal's elder brother Devendra Pal.
In a statement, Arvind Kumar, Principal Secretary (Home) said, “The government has decided to refer the investigation of case crime number 305/2019 u/s 302/307/506/120 B IPC PS Gurbuxganj Distt Raebareli to the CBI. A formal request has been sent to the Government of India in this regard.”
Accident FIR names Sengar
According to an NDTV report, a police complaint filed a day after the car accident notes that Sengar used to make calls from inside prison to threaten the family. A murder case was filed against the BJP leader and nine others after the Sunday's incident, alleging the lawmaker's hand in the accident.
In the First Information Report (FIR), the teen's uncle has alleged that when they went to the police to file a complaint in the rape case, they were told that Sengar is with the ruling party and thus, the police asked them to "compromise" due to fear of losing their jobs, the report says. The report also says that later, Sengar called them from the jail, asking them to change their statements in court if they didn't want to be killed. According to the FIR, threats from Sengar and his men increased after the Allahabad High Court rejected the request of a co-accused in the rape case for bail.
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