New Delhi: New Delhi's Tis Hazari court will pronounce the quantum of sentence against expelled BJP legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar on Tuesday (December 17) for raping a minor girl in Uttar Pradesh`s Unnao district two years ago. Sengar was convicted under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 5 (c) and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which pertains to penetrative sexual assault committed against a child by a public servant.
Sengar had raped the girl at his residence in Unnao in June 2017, where she had gone seeking a job. The four-time BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh`s Bangarmau was arrested last year and is currently lodged in Tihar jail.
Delhi`s Tis Hazari District Judge Dharmesh Sharma observed in the order that, "the CBI was able to prove the guilt of Kuldeep Singh Sengar beyond a reasonable doubt."The co-accused Shashi Singh, who allegedly took the minor to Sengar, has been afforded the benefit of doubt and let out by the court."
The court also expressed displeasure with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for the delay in filing the charge sheet, which filed on October 3. It revealed that the girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped for nine days at different places by three persons when she was a minor in 2017.
A day-to-day hearing was conducted into the case after it was transferred from Uttar Pradesh to the national capital on the directions of the Supreme Court, earlier this year after the rape survivor`s car met with an accident in which two of her aunts were killed.
The rape survivor and her lawyer had also sustained grievous injuries in the accident, and the family had alleged foul play.
The girl was airlifted to Delhi`s All Indian Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) following the car crash. A special court was held there to record her statement. Another counsel representing the rape survivor, Poonam Kaushik, told ANI that the court has issued a notice in the accident case and the matter will be heard in January.
Meanwhile, the court acquitted Sengar's co-accused Shashi Singh who was accused of taking the rape victim to the MLA's house on the pretext of providing her job. The judge observed: "The role of Shashi Singh is in doubt. It is clear that she had taken the girl to the spot. But she didn`t know that the incident will take place. Because of powerful clout and the influence of Senger on police."
Women leaders across the country applauded the judiciary over Kuldeep Sengar`s conviction on Monday. Speaking with IANS, Shiv Sena leader Priayanka Chaturvedi said, "I would like to call his conviction as the victory of the judicial system. The decision by the court has shown to the people that those who are in a position of power can run but can`t hide from the consequences of their depravity and crime."
Reacting to the news, CPI leader Brinda Karat said, "His conviction was expected. But the question is why the party he belongs to allows him to continue as MLA," she said.
Union Minister Smriti Irani also took to Twitter to convey her gratitude to the judiciary. She tweeted, "To presume that I would stand by anyone irrespective of their politics on issues of rape is abhorrent. The law has taken its course and I`m grateful that judicial processes continue to ensure protection of women & children."
(With Agency Inputs)