Unnao rape case: Delhi HC shortens expelled BJP leader Sengar's interim bail period

NewsDrum Desk
27 Jan 2023

New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Friday shortened the interim bail period of expelled BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is serving a life term for raping a minor in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao in 2017, asking him to surrender after his daughter's "tilak" ceremony, and said he will be released again before her marriage.

The court had earlier granted bail to Sengar for two weeks.

The court, which was informed that Sengar was released from the Tihar jail here on Friday morning and was on his way to Lucknow, passed the modification order on an application filed by the victim, seeking a recall of the interim bail order on the ground of a threat to her and her family members.

A bench of justices Mukta Gupta and Poonam A Bamba, which had on January 16 granted bail to Sengar from January 27 to February 10 on account of his daughter's marriage, directed that he shall surrender before the jail authorities on February 1 as the "tilak" ceremony is scheduled for January 30.

It said Sengar shall again be released from jail on February 6 and surrender on February 10 as the wedding is on February 8.

The victim, who was present in the court, said, "If Kuldeep Sengar is granted bail, I and the witnesses will be in danger. All the government officials there are his appointees. I request not to release him or else he can get me killed." However, Sengar's counsel said since the trial is complete, there is no threat to the witnesses.

The high court rejected the submissions of Sengar's counsel and said, "We may note that the appellant (Sengar) has already filed an application for leading additional evidence, hence the plea that there can be no threat to the witnesses cannot be accepted." "Having heard the counsel for the parties, though this court finds that a custody parole for such a long period and requiring employing a number of police personnel would not be feasible, however, due to the gap available between the tilak ceremony and the wedding, we modify the order dated January 16, 2023 to the extent that the appellant having been released today, will surrender to custody on February 1, whereafter, on the same terms and conditions, he will be released in the morning of February 6, so as to enable him to attend his daughter's wedding, and he would surrender on February 10," the bench said in its order.

It further said all the conditions imposed by it shall be scrupulously followed.

Advocate Mehmood Pracha, representing the victim, said the threat perception was there even when Sengar was in custody and while ordinarily, people are released from the jail in the evening, the politician was released early in the morning, which shows his clout.

Appearing for Sengar in the matter, senior advocate Pramod Dubey opposed the victim's plea, saying the court has imposed sufficient conditions on Sengar while granting him the relief and it may ask him to stay in his house, instead of reducing the bail period.

The victim's counsel brought to the court's notice an affidavit filed by the Uttar Pradesh home department before the Supreme Court on November 15, 2022, in which it was stated that the authorities had undertaken an assessment of the threat perception as regards the victim, her mother, sisters, brother, cousin brother, cousin sister, uncle and lawyers.

The affidavit stated that there may be some threat perception to the victim and her immediate family members, however, there was no threat perception to anyone else, including the four lawyers representing her in court.

The victim's lawyer contended that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not apprise the high court of this affidavit on the latest threat perception.

The CBI's counsel said the affidavit was not in the agency's knowledge and he came to know about it only when the application was filed.

In its status report placed before the court on Friday, the CBI prayed that the court reconsiders and recalls its January 16 order.

Sengar was granted interim bail in the rape case as well as in a case in which he is serving a 10-year jail term for the death of the rape victim's father in custody.

The victim has sought a recall of the January 16 order by which Sengar was granted bail in the rape case.

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

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 SKV RC

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