BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, accused of raping a minor girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, was arrested by the CBI late on Friday. His arrest came hours after the Allahabad High Court castigated Yogi Adityanath government and ordered his immediate arrest saying he was influencing the “law and order machinery”.
The incident, along with horrific gang rape and murder of a 8-year-old child in Kathua, has generated massive outrage across the country. Even Prime Minister Modi had called the incidents as “shame” for the country and asserted that the guilty will not be spared and daughters will get justice.
Meanwhile in Uttar Pradesh, facing flak over the delay in taking action against the MLA in the nearly year-old rape case, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said his government will not deviate from its zero-tolerance policy on crime and that it would firmly deal with criminals, no matter how influential they might be.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who led a midnight march on Thursday at the India Gate had hit out at the government and demanded swift action.
Earlier on Friday, hearing a petition in the case of the alleged rape of the 17-year-old Unnao girl, the Allahabad High Court directed the CBI to arrest Sengar, MLA from the Bangarmau assembly in Unnao district, saying the law and order machinery and officials were directly under his influence.
Hours later, the CBI, which had brought Sengar to its Lucknow office at around 5 am for questioning, arrested him.
A bench of Chief Justice DB Bhosale and Justice Suneet Kumar gave the direction to the agency after the counsel for the Uttar Pradesh government informed it that Sengar has been detained for interrogation and not arrested yet.
It had directed the CBI to arrest forthwith Sengar and the other accused named in the FIR and carry out further investigation. It also directed the agency to file status report by May 2.
Taking a strong objection to the UP government’s submission that Sengar would not be arrested on mere registration of the FIR, the court said this approach is “not only appalling but shocks the conscience of the court in the backdrop of the instant case.”
The bench passed the order on a letter written by senior advocate Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi demanding a court-monitored investigation of the incident and treated it as a PIL.
The court also said the father of the girl was “beaten up by the brother and the goons of” of the MLA, was arrested and beaten mercilessly in the custody, while false cases were lodged against family members.
The victim has alleged that she was raped by the MLA at his residence on June 4, 2017 where she had gone with a relative seeking a job.
In February, the girl’s family moved court seeking to include the MLA’s name in the rape case. After this move, the victim’s father was booked by the police under the arms act on April 3 this year and put in jail on April 5.
Alleging inaction and coercion from powerful people, the victim attempted self immolation in front of the CM’s house on April 8 and the next day, her father died in jail with post-mortem report suggesting serious injuries on his body.
The CBI is handling probe of both the rape case as well as the death of victim’s father.
(With inputs from the PTI)