Death of Unnao rape victim’s father: Delhi HC refuses to suspend Kuldeep Sengar's sentence

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New Delhi Jun 7 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to suspend the 10-year jail term awarded to expelled BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar for the custodial death of the Unnao rape victim’s father.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma dismissed Sengar's plea seeking suspension of his sentence during the pendency of his appeal against conviction.

"This Court is not inclined to allow the present application seeking suspension of sentence at this stage. Accordingly, the present application stands dismissed," the court said.

Sengar sought suspension of his sentence on the ground that he has already served almost 6 years and the prosecution’s case against him is solely based on circumstantial evidence.

Justice Sharma, however, said once an accused has been held guilty, the presumption of innocence gets erased, and his application for suspension of sentence has to be considered on the basis of a prima facie view of his role, gravity of offence, etc and the period undergone in jail is only one of these several factors.

The court, in its judgement, said factors such as the nature of the crime, criminal antecedents of the convict, impact on public confidence and threat to the victims also have to be appreciated while deciding the issue of suspension of sentence.

The court noted that Sengar has already been convicted of raping the minor daughter of the deceased man and sentenced to imprisonment for the remainder of his life in that case.

Sengar's appeal challenging the trial court's verdict in the main Unnao rape case is already pending in the high court.

He has sought quashing of the December 16, 2019 judgement of the trial court which convicted him in the rape case. Sengar has also sought setting aside of the December 20, 2019 order sentencing him to imprisonment for the remainder of his life.

The girl was kidnapped and raped by Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor.

On March 13, 2020, Sengar was sentenced by the trial court to 10 years rigorous imprisonment, besides a fine of Rs 10 lakh, in the case of death of the rape victim’s father in custody. The trial court had said "no leniency" can be shown for killing a family's "sole bread earner".

It had also awarded 10 years jail term to Sengar's brother Atul Singh Sengar and five others for their role in the custodial killing of the father of the rape victim.

The girl's father was arrested at the behest of Sengar under the Arms Act and had died in custody on April 9, 2018 owing police brutality.

The trial court, which did not hold the accused guilty of murder under the IPC, awarded the maximum sentence for the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder to the convicts under section 304 of the IPC after holding that there was no intention to kill.

The case was transferred to Delhi from a trial court in Uttar Pradesh on the directions of the Supreme Court on August 1, 2019. PTI ADS ADS SK SK

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