Unnao rape case: Kuldeep Singh Sengar convicted

With the increasing number of crimes being reported against women in the country and the growing sentiment of retribution among the masses, this verdict can become the means to restore people’s faith in the criminal justice system.

RapeImage Courtesy: ndtv.com

A District Court found Kuldeep Sengar guilty in the high-profile case that sent shock-waves ever sinceit first came to light in April 2018, when the survivor tried to commit self immolation outside UP Chief Minsiter Yogi Adityanath’s home demanding justice. Sengar’s co-accused Shashi Singh was acquitted, giving him benefit of doubt.

The court observed, “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 convicted Sengar under section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code as well as section 5(c) of POCSO Act for the offence of public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child. Reportedly, Kuldeep Sengar broke down after hearing the verdict in court. The survivor, now aged 19, was a minor at the time of the fateful incident.

The crime was committed in 2017, but Sengar who was only recently expelled by the BJP, used his political might to ensure he escaped justice for as long as he could. He was arrested only in April 2018, days after the survivor threatened to set herself ablaze in from the UP Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath’s Home in Lucknow. Sengar was a four-time BJP MLA from Bangermaru in UP; he was expelled, a little too late, a year later, in April this year.

Though the crime was committed in UP, the case was transferred to Delhi as per directions of the Supreme Court after the then CJI received a letter from the survivor, a girl who was a minor at the time of the rape, that she was being threatened by Sengar. In fact, the survivor and her lawyer sustained grievous injuries and escaped within an inch of their lives in July this year, when a truck rammed into their vehicle on their way to court. The survivor lost both her aunts in the accident that is being viewed by many as a premeditated attack to silence the survivor for good.

The incident involving the truck once again highlighted the importance of having a strong victim/witness protection programme that needs to be effectively implemented, especially in cases of rape.

After this incident, CRPF security was provided to the survivor and her family members. The survivor’s statement was recorded by a special court in in-camera proceedings while she was recovering in AIIMS, Delhi after having been airlifted from UP. Earier, the survivor’s father died under mysterious circumstances in police custody after being allegedly framed in an illegal arms case. A local court has framed charges of murder against Sengar, his brother Atul and 9 others in this case too.

The proceedings

The proceedings of this case were taking place in-camera i.e. without an audience, in closed court room and during this, thirteen prosecution witnesses and nine defence witnesses were examined; the mother and uncle of the survivor being the key witnesses.

The court had framed charges against the two accused 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.

The quantum of the sentence has not yet been decided and the accused will be heard on the quantum on December 19. Both charges under IPC as well as the POCSO Act provide for minimum rigorous imprisonment of 10 years and maximum punishment of life imprisonment as well as fine.



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