The offences entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
New Delhi: A Delhi court convicted expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar on Monday for raping a woman in Unnao in 2017, saying the victim’s testimony was “truthful and unblemished” against a “powerful person”. Soon after his conviction, Sengar broke down in the courtroom, and was seen crying beside his sister.
The court convicted Sengar for rape under the IPC and the Posco Act for the offence of a public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child. The court will hear arguments on quantum on sentence on Wednesday. The offences entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
District judge Dharmesh Sharma, however, acquitted co-accused Shashi Singh of all charges. Convicting Sengar, 53, under the Protection of Children from Sexual
Offences (Posco) Act, the court said the CBI proved the victim was a minor. “I found her statement truthful and unblemished that she was sexually assaulted. She was under threat, worried. She is a village girl, not from a cosmopolitan educated area... Sengar was a powerful person. So she took her time..,” the judge said, reading out the verdict. When the judge started pronouncing the order, co-accused Singh fainted.
The court noted that after the victim wrote a letter to UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, several criminal cases were filed against her family and the “imprint of Sengar” were visible in them. The court voiced surprise over the CBI’s delay in filing the chargesheet in the rape case and said it prolonged the trial against Sengar and the others.
Referring to the Posco Act, which had come into force to impart expeditious justice involving children as victims of sexual assault, the court said there was “nothing wrong” with the law but its ineffective implementation on the ground and the lack of human approach of officers led to a situation where justice was delayed. It said the CBI itself was not following the manual on investigation and prosecution. The woman was allegedly kidnapped and raped by Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor.
The court had also framed charges against co-accused Shashi Singh in the case. Sengar, a four-time BJP MLA from UP’s Bangermau, was expelled from the BJP in August 2019.
The court had on August 9 framed charges against the MLA and Singh under Sections 120b (criminal conspiracy), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping or inducing a woman to compel for marriage), 376 (rape) and other sections of the Posco Act. The trial in the high-profile case was held in-camera after the Supreme Court transferred the matter from Unnao to a Delhi court.