Unnao custodial death: Delhi HC grants time to CBI for reply on Kuldeep Sengar's appeal against jail term
On 4 March, Sengar, his brother, and five others were convicted for the death of the Unnao victim’s father in judicial custody by a trial court, which sentenced them to 10 years in prison
The Delhi High Court on Monday granted time to the CBI to file a status report on disqualified Uttar Pradesh MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar’s appeal challenging his conviction and 10-year imprisonment in the custodial death case of the Unnao rape victim’s father.
Justice Anu Malhotra directed the agency to submit its reply within two weeks to the plea and listed the matter for further hearing on 12 January.
The high court on 6 November issued notice to the CBI on Sengar’s appeal against his conviction and jail term and had also asked the agency to respond to his application seeking suspension of the sentence till the pendency of the appeal.
During the hearing, CBI’s counsel sought more time to file the status report saying that the investigating officer of this case is also probing the UP’s Hathras rape case due to which he could not file the reply.
Advocate Kanhaiya Singhal, representing Sengar, submitted that he has a strong case for suspension of sentence and let the CBI file its reply then he would advance his arguments.
Sengar, who was also sentenced to the “remainder of his natural biological life” for raping the minor Unnao girl, was stripped of his membership on 25 February as the lawmaker of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly following his conviction in the rape case.
The father of the rape victim was arrested at the behest of Sengar in the Arms Act and had died in custody on 9 April, 2018 owing to police brutalities in custody.
On 4 March, Sengar, his brother and five others were convicted for the death of the victim’s father in judicial custody by the trial court which on 13 March, sentenced them to 10 years imprisonment.
The trial court had also imposed a fine of ₹10 lakh on Sengar. He has sought setting aside the verdict of the trial court by which he was convicted and sentenced in the case.
In the appeal, he said, It is imperative for a fair trial that the investigating agency, prosecution and witnesses present the true facts before the court and that the court, in turn, must ensure that a free and fair trial.
It said the trial must not only be fair but also remain free from biases and prejudices. It would not be preposterous to submit that in the instant case neither the justice was done nor seen to be done which has certainly shaken the confidence of the public in the entire justice delivery system.
Sengar claimed this case was an offshoot of a long-drawn political rivalry and deep-seated animosity existing between two political factions.
The trial court, which did not hold the accused guilty of murder under the IPC, awarded maximum sentence for the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder to convicts under section 304 of the IPC after holding that there was no intention to kill.
It had said “no leniency” can be shown for killing a family’s “sole bread earner.”
The trial court, which sentenced all the convicts to maximum punishment under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and some other offences under the penal laws, also said that the four daughters and a son of the deceased has lost the protective cover of their father.
Besides ten years in prison for culpable homicide, Sengar, his brother, the then in-charge of Makhi Police Station in Unnao Ashok Singh Bhadauria and then sub-inspector KP Singh, Vineet Mishra, Birendra Singh and Shashi Pratap Singh have been also sentenced for other offences.
They were held guilty for the offences of criminal conspiracy, punishment for false evidence, giving false information respecting an offence committed, causing disappearance of evidence of the offence, the false charge of offence made with the intent to injure, voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful restraint under the IPC and under the Arms Act.
The court had earlier acquitted other accused, constable Amir Khan, Shailendra Singh, Ram Sharan Singh and Sharadveer Singh, giving them the benefit of doubt in the custodial death case.
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