Truck driver’s stories don’t add up in Unnao rape survivor’s accident

Unnao rape accident CBI - The Federal
A CBI team arrives for questioning expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, in connection with Unnao rape case at Sitapur District Jail. (PTI Photo)

The CBI investigation into the accident of the Unnao rape survivor and her family members has spread to five districts of Uttar Pradesh. CBI sleuths are examining all aspects and suspects in districts of Unnao, Lucknow, Kanpur, Fatehpur and Rae Bareli.

A three-member CBI team on Saturday reached Sitapur Jail where the accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar is lodged. This three-member team questioned Sengar for about six hours and asked him questions related to the ten persons named in accident FIR to try to ascertain whether or not he had any direct or indirect role in the accident.

They also spoke to the jail staff and examined the entry register jail to ascertain who all came to meet Sengar in the jail in the last one month or so. A list of all these persons will be prepared and the CBI would soon summon these visitors for questioning.

Officers of the CBI also spoke the Unnao jail superintendent, jailor and jail doctor separately. The team also inspected the CCTVs installed in the jail premises and the footage of these cameras were also scanned. It was revealed that two CCTVs installed in the jail premises were not in working condition.

Another four-member CBI team reached Makhi police station of Unnao district where this case was reported from and where the initial FIR in the case was registered. The team spoke to the entire staff of the police station. The uncle of the rape victim has alleged that the local police and the security personnel assigned to the girl, were constantly giving information of her movement to the accused MLA. The call records of several suspects would be studied in the coming days.

Stories don’t add up

The CBI probe has brought out startling contradictions in the Unnao rape survivor’s accident. The truck bearing registration number UP 71 AT 8300 had crossed the toll plaza in Lalgang in Rae Bareli at about 5:20 am and the CCTV footage of the toll plaza shows that at that time, the number plate of the vehicle was clearly visible.

The accident took place at a distance, approximately 20 kilometres from the toll plaza, Gurbakshganj, and here the truck was found with its front number plate smeared with black paint or grease.

Also read: Unnao rape accused MLA’s aide ‘bribes’ cop, police probe video

This raises the question as to why the registration number was smeared after crossing the toll plaza.

The Uttar Pradesh Police had said that the owner of the truck, Devender Pal, had said that the truck’s number plate had been covered to evade recovery agents he had defaulted on the repayment of the loan taken to purchase the vehicle.

Investigations revealed that the lender was the Kanpur branch of Orix Leasing and Financial Services India Limited, a Mumbai-based NBFC. Shashi Kumar, the branch manager at Kanpur, said that Devender Pal had been given funds for three trucks. The installments of one truck had been fully paid and a no-objection certificate was also issued against it. He categorically stated that seizure of vehicles was not part of company policy and he was not able to understand as to why the number plate of the vehicle had been smeared.

Meanwhile, the CBI has got three-day remand of the driver and the cleaner of the truck and the duo is being questioned at length. The premier investigation agency had also asked a Lucknow court for the remand of the MLA, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, his brother Atul Sengar, Virendra Singh and Shailendra Singh as it needs them for interrogation.

In the meantime, the Unnao administration has revoked the arms licences provided to the accused MLA. It was almost one year ago that the family of the rape survivor had raised this demand which had fallen on deaf ears. The licences of a gun, a pistol and a revolver issued to the accused MLA have been cancelled.

Also read: BJP MLA sympathises with Unnao rape accused legislator

The Supreme Court, on August 1, had ordered the CBI to complete the probe in the accident case in a week’s time. The agency has to submit its findings to the apex court by August 8.

The accident had taken place on July 28 on Rae Bareli road where the rape survivor, her two aunts and lawyer were on the way to meet the girl’s uncle lodged in Rae Bareli jail. While two women died, the rape survivor and her lawyer are admitted to the trauma centre of King George’s Medical University of Lucknow. The rape survivor is still said to be in critical condition.

As per latest reports, the CBI conducted searches at some locations in Lucknow, Unnao, Banda and Fatehpur.

(Vivek Avasthi is Senior Editor – Politics with Business Television India)