UNNAO: The father of an 18-year-old woman, who had alleged rape by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his brothers, died in custody here today, prompting her to put the blame on the lawmaker.
A defiant Sengar, however, rejected the charge as a conspiracy by his opponents and said the complainant belonged to a "low class", even as six policemen were suspended and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath assured whosoever is guilty will not be spared.
The woman's father, aged around 50, was rushed to a hospital from the district jail last night and died during treatment today, officials said. He was arrested on April 5 under the Arms Act, they added.
Significantly, a case had been registered against four persons a few days back on a complaint by the deceased's wife that he was beaten up.
"The four accused -- Sonu, Baua, Vinit and Shailu -- named in the FIR registered on April 4, 2018 for beating up the deceased had been arrested," Superintendent of Police, Unnao, Pushpanjali Devi said.
Yesterday, the woman who has accused the MLA had even tried to immolate herself outside Adityanaths office.
Speaking to reporters outside the Chief Ministers Office in Lucknow, Sengar said the allegations against him were part of a conspiracy.
"They belong to a low status family (nimn star ke log hain)...This is a conspiracy by my opponents," Sengar told reporters, but refused to comment on speculation about he being summoned by the chief minister.
The news of the death spread like wildfire with the opposition and the civil society slamming the Adityanath government.
"This is a case of highhandedness because the political power and support that such men like Mr Sengar get from the government, from the CM himself. I think this is something extremely brazen," leading activist Ranjana Kumari said adding that this was a typical case of a politician trying to "bully and bulldoze" people.
"The language he is using is really typical of rooky MLAs," she said demanding a proper inquiry in the womans allegations.
Under fire, Chief Minister Adityanath sought a report into the custodial death.
"The incident is unfortunate. ADG, Lucknow, has been asked to give his report and probe the matter, and if any policeman is found guilty, action will be taken. Whosoever is guilty will not be spared," Adityanath said.
According to UP Power Minister Shrikant Sharma, a magisterial probe had also been ordered.
The Unnao SP said six policemen, including SHO, Makhi, Ashok Kumar Singh, an outpost in charge and four beat constables were suspended.
UP Director General of Police O P Singh said a Lucknow Police team had been constituted to probe the entire matter.
"Whosoever is found guilty, strict action will be taken. None will be spared," he said.
Asked about the allegations against Sengar, the DGP said, "Till now these are allegations. Probe is on. Action will be taken against those found guilty."
District Magistrate Ravi Kumar NG said the post-mortem examination of the victim would be conducted by a panel of doctors to ascertain the exact cause of death.
The woman, however, claimed her family had received threats in the past and accused the MLA.
He was "killed at the behest of the BJP MLA" inside the jail, she alleged. "We were getting threats and they killed my father," she told reporters.
State Power Minister and government spokesman Sharma told reporters that a magisterial probe had been ordered.
"If the allegations are true, its a very unfortunate incident. For a fair probe, the inquiry has been shifted to Lucknow from Unnao. The state government is committed to ensuring justice to the victims family," he said.
The woman had yesterday tried to immolate herself near Chief Minister Adityanaths residence, alleging rape by the BJP MLA and his brothers. The immolation bid was, however, foiled by the police. She had alleged that the Unnao police had not registered a case against the BJP MLA despite her complaint and no action was taken, police said.
Attacking the BJP government, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet, "In (UP) state a girl, going for coaching classes is being shot dead...Another girl accusing BJP MLA of gangrape tried to immolate herself in front of CMs residence after disappointment from the government. Is this fear of the government of encounter that instead of criminals, woman are getting terrified?(sic)"
Congress spokesman Dwijendra Tripathi said, "The death inside a jail is mysterious. Had the government and the administration not worked under the pressure of the BJP MLA, the death could have been avoided. We demand a high-level probe into the matter and security to the rape victim."
Sengar represents the Bangermau constituency in Unnao district.
Speaking to newspersons, he demanded a high level inquiry and sought action against those guilty.
"Let a probe be conducted, and the guilty be given the stringent punishment. If I am found guilty in the probe, I am ready to face punishment," he said.
To a question whether he will resign, Sengar said "has anyone given resignation only because his name has figured in any case...will you resign if anyone takes your name..this incident is totally fake as the sole intention is to defame me by those feeling frustrated because of my popularity and working style"