New Delhi: Expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar will remain in jail for the “remainder of his natural biological life” for raping a woman in Unnao in 2017, a Delhi court said on Friday while sentencing him for life.
District Judge Dharmesh Sharma also imposed an exemplary fine of Rs 25 lakh on him and it has to be paid within a month, making it clear that in case of non-payment, Uttar Pradesh government will have to pay from the state coffer as provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
“The convict Kuldeep Singh Sengar is hereby sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of his natural biological life in terms of Section 376 (2) Indian Penal Code,” the court said.
Section 376 (2) of IPC deals with the offence of rape committed by a public servant who “takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in his custody as such public servant or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to him”.
“This court does not find any mitigating circumstance, Sengar was a public servant and betrayed people’s faith,” the judge said while declining the plea for lenient approach in sentencing him.
The conduct of 53-year-old Sengar was to intimidate the rape survivor, the court said.
It also directed that additional Rs 10 lakh be paid as compensation to the mother of the rape survivor.
Besides, the court directed the CBI to continue assessing threat perception to the life and security of the survivor and her family members every three months.
It said they will continue to reside in rented accommodation made available by Delhi Commission for Women for one more year and directed the UP government to pay Rs 15,000 per month for the rent.
“The CBI shall continue to assess threat perception to the life and security of the victim girl and her family members every three months from now and after expiry of the lease (of rented house), it shall ensure that the lease is further extended for a reasonable period of time and in any case adequate steps shall be taken by the CBI to ensure that the life and liberty of the victim girl and her family members remain secured including providing a safe house and/or change of identities if so desired by the family.
“It is further provided that in case of any assistance, the CBI or the victim girl or her family members can approach the member secretary, Delhi Legal Services Authority or the District Witness protection Committee, Delhi for appropriate proceedings,” the court said.
The court had on Monday convicted Sengar for rape under the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act for offence by a public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child after holding the victim to be a minor in 2017.
The court had said the victim’s testimony was “truthful and unblemished” against a “powerful person”.
The recent amendments made in August this year in the POCSO Act, which carries a provision of the death penalty, did not come into effect as the incident took place in 2017 before the law was amended.
The woman co-accused in the case Shashi Singh was acquitted of all charges saying that the CBI failed to prove that she was a co-conspirator with Sengar in the act of sexual assault committed upon the victim and “it appears that she herself was a victim of circumstances”.
Convicting Sengar, under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the court said the CBI proved that the victim was a minor and he was rightly prosecuted under the special law.
The court had noted that it was proved by the prosecution that the movement of Sengar on a fateful day was not in sync with the movements of his three mobile SIM cards operating on his two mobile phones.
It had said that after the victim wrote a letter to the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, several criminal cases were filed against her family and “imprints of Sengar” were visible in them.
The court had expressed surprise over the delay by the CBI in filing the charge sheet in the gang rape case and said it had halted the progress against Sengar and Singh in the rape case.
In a separate case, the same woman was allegedly gang-raped later by three other persons on June 11, 2017, in Unnao. The trial is yet to commence in that case.
The court had found that the delay of two months and ten days in reporting the crime of rape to the police was satisfactorily explained by the survivor.
The court had also pulled up the CBI for the absence of women officers in conducting the probe “without bothering for the kind of harassment, anguish, and re-victimisation that occurs for a victim of sexual assault”.
Referring to the POCSO, the court had said there was “nothing wrong” with the law but its ineffective implementation on the ground and lack of human approach of officers concerned led to a situation where justice was delayed.
It said the CBI itself was not following the manual relating to investigation and prosecution.
On July 28 this year, 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 and her family had alleged foul play.
The trial in the other four cases – framing of the rape survivor’s father in illegal firearms case, his death in judicial custody, a conspiracy of Sengar with others in the accident case and the separate gang rape case of the survivor by three others – are going on in the court.