The Yogi Adityanath government on late Wednesday night decided to hand over the probe into the Unnao rape case in which a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA is among the accused to the Central Bureau of Investigation, on a day when he made a dramatic appearance before the police but refused to surrender.
Facing heat and growing outrage over the alleged involvement of MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in the rape of an 18-year-old girl, the state government also decided to register an FIR against the legislator and the other accused.
“An FIR has been lodged under appropriate sections considering the allegations of rape levied on MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and others and the investigation be handed over to CBI,” the Principal Secretary (Information) said in an statement.
The government has also recommended a CBI probe into the death of the victim’s father.
“Investigation into cross cases pertaining to incidents leading to the death of the victim’s father be also handed over to the CBI,” the statement read.
The decisions were taken after the Special Investigation Team constituted under Additional Director General of Police (Lucknow zone) to look into the matter submitted its report to the government.
The development came hours after the Allahabad high court sought the Yogi Adityanath-led state government’s stand on the incident on a letter to the court by senior lawyer Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi detailing the case and posted the matter for hearing tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in a dramatic Wednesday night development, Sengar made a surprise appearance outside the Lucknow SSP’s residence, triggering speculation that he might surrender, but left the place without handing himself over to the police.
“I came here to show to the media that I am not absconding, and I am very much in Lucknow. I am here, tell me what to do,” a visibly unrepentant Sengar told reporters.
He said, “I am a disciplined BJP worker. I am innocent. I am being implicated.”
BJP MLA from Bairia in Ballia district Surendra Singh made a shocking remark while defending Sengar.
He said, “Tell me who will rape a mother of three? He is being falsely implicated.”
Earlier in the day, Sangeeta Sengar, the wife of the accused MLA demanded narco tests on her husband and also the 18-year-old victim, who alleged confinement by local authorities.
The Congress latched on to the case to hit out at the BJP government with party president Rahul Gandhi wondering if Prime Minister Narendra Modi would observe a fast on the alleged rape and death of the complainant’s father in custody, which he said “has shamed humanity”.
The victim, who had tried to immolate herself outside the chief minister’s house just a day before her 50-year-old father died on Monday, alleged that she has been confined to a hotel room by the district administration, leaving her “without a phone or water and guards at every corner”.
She also accused the MLA’s brother and their henchmen of killing her elder uncle earlier. “I want justice, why are they putting pressure on me for an apology? Do they want my (another) uncle to be killed too?” she told TV channels.
A purported video of the alleged rape survivor’s father before his death also went viral and was shown by several TV channels, in which he alleged that he was mercilessly beaten up by the MLA’s brother and others, including with rifle butts. It also showed the deceased person’s back with serious wounds, but its veracity could not be ascertained.
In the state capital, Sangeeta Sengar, the wife of the accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, told reporters after meeting state police chief O P Singh that there was a political conspiracy against her family and accused the complainant of not being consistent in her statements.
“We demand that a narco test be conducted on my husband and the girl as well as her uncle. This will help in ascertaining the truth and presenting the correct picture. There are political reasons behind this and my husband has been made a pawn,” Sangeeta Sengar said. The narco analysis test is a type of psychological investigation.
“My husband is innocent and it is my request that he should not be called a rapist. He has been in politics for the past 15 years and has been serving the society and people,” she said, adding that her daughters were unable to concentrate on their studies in the wake of this incident.
She said the allegations against her brother-in-law Atul, who was arrested on Wednesday, were false too.
The MLA’s wife, as also the alleged rape survivor, have demanded a CBI probe into the entire matter.
The Congress party demanded the dismissal of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, alleging that his government was a “Ravan” regime which has failed to protect women.
Taking a swipe at the prime minister’s proposed hunger strike over the non-functioning of Parliament, Rahul Gandhi separately tweeted, “The barbarism inflicted on a father seeking justice for his daughter in Uttar Pradesh has shamed humanity. Hope the prime minister will soon observe a fast over atrocities against women, failed law and order and increasing anarchy under the BJP’s watch.”
The Congress president also posted a purported video in which the woman’s father is seen speaking against the BJP MLA.
In the Supreme Court, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said it would hear a plea next week for a CBI probe. The plea also alleged that the woman’s father was tortured and killed in police custody at the behest of the “ruling party” in the state.