Delhi court awards life term to Kuldeep Singh Sengar in Unnao rape case

Sengar, Unnao rape case, Uttar Pradesh
The court also directed Sengar to pay ₹10 lakh compensation to the rape survivor. Photo: PTI

A Delhi court awarded life imprisonment, till the remainder of life, to expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar on Friday (December 20) for raping a woman in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, in 2017.

The court also directed Sengar to pay ₹10 lakh compensation to the rape survivor.

District Judge Dharmesh Sharma, who had reserved the verdict on quantum of sentence in the forenoon, also imposed a fine of ₹25 lakh in the case including ₹10 lakh compensation for the rape survivor.

“Don’t find any mitigating circumstance; Sengar was a public servant, betrayed people’s faith,” Sharma said.

The court had on Monday (December 16) convicted Sengar for rape under the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act for offense by a public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child after holding the victim to be a minor.

Sengar broke down in the courtroom at Tis Hazari District Court complex after he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was found crying along with his daughter and sister. The MLA was also seen crying after the judge had held him guilty on Monday.

Sengar was convicted for raping a woman in 2017 when she was a minor under the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act, under sections including those dealing with penetrative sexual assault against a child by a public servant. Justice Sharma, however, acquitted co-accused Shashi Singh of all charges.

The court noted that it was proved by the prosecution that the movement of Sengar on the fateful day was not in sync with the movements of his three mobile SIM cards operating on his two mobile phones.

The investigation in the 2017 Unnao rape case suffered from a “patriarchal approach” and “manifests the multitude of restrictions and taboo within which many women in rural areas are brought up, grow and survive,” the court said.

The court noted that “somewhere, investigation in the instant case has not been fair qua victim of the crime and her family members.”

“The instant case manifests the multitude of restrictions and taboo within which many women in rural areas are brought up, grow and survive. It epitomises the fear ingrained in the minds of young girls in the countryside or elsewhere against reporting issues of sexual assault by powerful persons,” the judge said.

“In my considered opinion, this investigation has suffered from patriarchal approach or inherent outlook to brush the issues of sexual violence against children under the carpet apart from exhibiting lack of sensitivity and humane approach,” he said.

The woman was allegedly kidnapped and raped by Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor. On July 28, 2019, the car of the rape survivor was hit by a truck and she was severely injured. The woman’s two aunts were killed in the accident. Following public outcry over the incident after the family alleged foul play, Sengar, a four-time BJP MLA from UP’s Bangermau, was expelled from the party in August 2019.

The trial in the other four cases — framing of the rape survivor’s father in illegal firearms case and his death in judicial custody, the conspiracy of Sengar with others in the accident case and a separate case of gang-rape of the rape survivor by three others — is going on in the court.

The court had on August 9 framed charges against the MLA and Singh under Sections 120 b (criminal conspiracy), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping or inducing a woman to compel for marriage), 376 (rape) and other sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The trial in the high profile case was held in-camera after the Supreme Court transferred the matter from Unnao to the national capital.

(With inputs from agencies)

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