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SC asks Centre to move plea for withdrawal of CRPF security to Unnao rape victim

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New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to file a separate application seeking withdrawal of the CRPF security cover provided following its order in 2019 to the Unnao rape victim, her family members and their lawyers.

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Expelled BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar is serving a life term for raping the minor girl in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao in 2017.

The central government told a bench comprising justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal that the security cover to the victim and others may be provided by either the Delhi or Uttar Pradesh police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) be permitted to withdraw.

Taking note of the sensational rape case and the threat to lives of the victim and others, the top court, on August 1, 2019, had directed that the rape survivor, her mother, other members of the family and their lawyer be provided security by the CRPF and an officer of the level of commandant will file a compliance report forthwith.

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"Such security and protection shall be provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The Commandant of the CRPF battalion in Raebareli or in any location near Raebareli where a CRPF battalion may be located, shall be responsible for providing adequate security and protection in terms of this order.

"Such security and protection will be provided forthwith and compliance thereof be reported to the Court tomorrow (on August 2, 2019) through the Central Agency," the order had said.

The top court had also transferred all five cases registered in connection with the Unnao rape incident from a Lucknow court in Uttar Pradesh to a court in Delhi with the directions to hold trial on daily basis and completing it within 45-days.

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The apex court had also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to provide Rs 25 lakh as interim compensation to the rape victim.

The court had further said that CBI will have to complete the investigation within seven days into the recent accident in which the victim and her lawyer were critically injured and two of her aunts killed.

On Tuesday, the Centre said that it wanted the CRPF security cover be withdrawn and the same be given by the state police under whose jurisdiction the victim lives after following the due process.

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"Let them file an application in this regard," Justice Trivedi said and posted the suo-motu (on its own) case titled as 'Alarming Rise in number of child rapes' for hearing after eight weeks.

Meanwhile, lawyer Mehmood Pracha, appearing for the rape survivor, said he has been representing her in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court and he does not need the security cover.

The bench took note of his submissions and ordered the withdrawal of his security cover if any.

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Sengar's appeal challenging the trial court's verdict in the Unnao rape case is pending in the Delhi High Court. He has sought the quashing of the trial court's December 2019 judgment that has sentenced him to imprisonment for the remainder of his life.

The girl was kidnapped and raped by Sengar in 2017.

On March 13, 2020, Sengar was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment in the case of death of the rape victim's father in custody. He was also slapped with a fine of Rs 10 lakh. The court had awarded a 10-year jail term to Sengar's brother Atul Singh Sengar and five others in the case.

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The father of the rape victim was arrested at the behest of Sengar in a case under the Arms Act and died in custody on April 9, 2018.

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

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

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