While the Supreme Court, taking immediate stock of the Unnao rape case and the accident involving the survivor and her family on July 28, shifted all cases related to the incident to a Delhi court, the CBI too has swung into action and begun its preliminary investigations into the case.
Probing ground zero
The CBI team led by Superintendent of Police Raghvendra Vats, which surveyed the accident spot, after investigation has found that when the accident took place the car carrying the rape survivor and her family was moving at a speed of 100 kmph. On the other hand, the truck that hit the car was travelling at a speed of 70 to 80 kmph.
Investigations revealed that the truck was coming from the wrong side of the road and when the car’s driver saw it coming from the opposite direction, he in a bid to avert the mishap, swerved the vehicle to the left, causing the car to crash at the rear end of the truck. The impact of this collision broke the rear axle of the truck, dislocating its rear wheels and making it immovable.
CBI sleuths have interrogated the truck’s driver Ashish Pal and its cleaner Mohan as well as its owner Devendra Pal for hours. Pal could be summoned again for further questioning, said sources.
Forensic experts did a detailed study of the speedometer of both the vehicles. The CBI team also participated in the investigation by the Rae Bareli Police’s special investigation team. The 12-member CBI team, currently camping in Rae Bareli, have spoken to the two important eyewitnesses of the case – owners of two roadside shops – near the accident spot; and with the members of the local forensic team, who were the first to visit the spot and recreate the accident.
The Fatehpur link
Investigation into the Fatehpur district link is also a very important aspect of the case. The truck’s owner Devendra Pal is a resident of Fatehpur district in Uttar Pradesh and he and his brother Nand Kishore Pal own over two dozen trucks. Nand Kishore, earlier a member of the Samajwadi Party (SP) later joined Shivpal Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), a breakaway faction of SP. But his or his brother’s links with the accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar are yet to be established as Sengar, before joining the BJP was a two-time MLA from SP.
Investigations are also underway to probe the role of Arun Singh, one of the 10 accused in the accident case. Arun Singh, also a resident of Fatehpur district is the son-in-law of Raghvendra Pratap Singh, the state agriculture minister. The CBI is in the process of examining, whether or not, Arun Singh has any connection with Devendra or his brother Nand Kishore. This is one of the most important parts of the investigation to establish whether the accident was planned and, if it was, who were the key conspirators. Meanwhile, Raghvendra Pratap Singh, the minister has denied all charges and says that the truth will emerge after the CBI probe.
Meanwhile, there is no improvement in the condition of the seriously injured Unnao rape victim and her lawyer, although their condition is stable, according to the medical bulletin issued by the King George’s Medical University today.
A red-faced BJP, stung by criticism from all quarters, after a gap of 788 days since the Unnao Rape case took place, has finally expelled the accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar from the party today.
(The writer is a senior editor with Business Television India)