Delhi’s Tis Hazari court deferred the hearing to decide the quantum of sentence to be awarded to expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar on Tuesday, a day after he was convicted in the case of the rape and abduction of a minor girl in 2017.
The matter will now be heard on 20 December and the court has sought a copy of the affidavit filed by Sengar in 2017 with the Election Commission in order to determine the compensation to the survivor.
Co-accused Shashi Singh was acquitted on the benefit of doubt by District and Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma. Singh had allegedly taken the survivor to Sengar on the pretext of getting her a job in 2017. He was expelled from the BJP in August.
Sengar was convicted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Charges were also framed under Sections 120 b (criminal conspiracy), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping or inducing a woman to compel for marriage) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code. His offences can invite a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
Reading out his order, district judge Dharmesh Sharma noted that the testimony of the rape survivor, who is now 19, was “truthful and unblemished” against a “powerful person”. “She was under threat, worried. She is a village girl, not from cosmopolitan educated area. Sengar was a powerful person. So she took her time,” the judge said.
“The instant case manifests the multitudes of restrictions and taboos within which many women in the rural areas are brought up, grow and survive. It epitomises the fear ingrained in the mind of young girl in the countryside or elsewhere against reporting issues of sexual assault by powerful adults,” the judge said in the order.
Lashing out at the CBI, the judge said that a patriarchal approach and lack of sensitivity marred the investigation. “It appears that somewhere the investigation in the instant case has not been fair qua victim of crime and her family members. The investigation has not been conducted by a woman officer and successive statements of the victim girl had been recorded by calling her at the CBI office without bothering for the kind of harassment, anguish and re-victimisation that occurs to a victim of sexual assault in such case,” the judge said.
The judge heard the case on a daily basis from 5 August after it was transferred from a court in Lucknow to Delhi on the Supreme Court’s directions, which came after the survivor’s family wrote to the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in July, saying they were under threat from Sengar and his accomplices.
Other cases in this matter include a car crash in July in which the survivor’s two aunts, one who was a crucial witness in the rape case, were killed. The complainant and her lawyer were also severely injured, and the family had alleged Sengar was behind the car crash.
The woman’s father had also been arrested in an illegal arms case, in which he had allegedly been framed, in April 2018. He died in judicial custody a few days later and a murder case was filed against Sengar, his brother and nine others.
There is also a separate gangrape case involving the complainant and Sengar that is ongoing.
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Updated Date: Dec 17, 2019 14:26:41 IST