Unnao rape case: CBI sleuths question Sengar in Sitapur prison, victim critical

PTI
Saturday, 3 August 2019

The 19-year-old victim, who is on ventilator support, remains critical as she has developed pneumonia, doctors attending to her at a hospital here said. Her lawyer has been taken off the ventilator, but he is still not out of danger.

Lucknow: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday questioned expelled BJP MLA and rape accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar in Sitapur jail in connection with the accident in which the victim was critically injured along with her lawyer and her two aunts were killed, as the agency deputed several teams to speed up the probe.

The three-member CBI team grilled Sengar for several hours in Sitapur district jail, according to officials, days after the Supreme Court asked the agency not to take more than a fortnight to complete the investigation.

The 19-year-old victim, who is on ventilator support, remains critical as she has developed pneumonia, doctors attending to her at a hospital here said. Her lawyer has been taken off the ventilator, but he is still not out of danger.

A CBI team visited the rape survivor's uncle, lodged in a Rae Bareli prison, on Friday. Later in the night, the Rae Bareli administration, in compliance with a Supreme Court directive, shifted the rape survivor's uncle to the Tihar jail in Delhi.

Another four-member CBI team visited the native village of the rape survivor in Unnao on Saturday.

According to the police station in-charge, Naradmuni, the team was in the village for hours and returned to Lucknow after conducting investigations.

No one from the victim's family was present in the village at the time of the CBI team's visit, he said.

In Rae Bareli, a CBI team was busy probing the accident by recreating the sequence of events of the accident and also questioned the driver and the cleaner of the truck that had rammed into the car in which the victim was travelling with her family members and lawyer.

Meanwhile, Sengar's arms licences for a single barrel gun, a rifle and a revolver were cancelled on Friday, some 15 months after he was arrested by the CBI on April 13, 2018, on charges of raping the woman in 2017 when she was a minor.

In more embarrassment for the ruling BJP in the case, party's Hardoi MLA Ashish Singh Ashu openly expressed sympathises with Sengar in his "difficult times".

A video clip, in which Ashu also wished that Sengar walks out of jail soon, went viral on news channels on Saturday.

"Our brother Kuldeep Singh could not be here among us today as he is going through difficult times. Our best wishes are with him. We hope that he will overcome the bad times, fight through it and come out of it and be with all of you to lead you," Ashu said at a panchayat meeting in Unnao on Friday.

"Wherever we are, our best wishes are with him," he said.

Unnao is the hometown of Sengar.

The BJP, however, distanced itself from Ashu's remarks, saying the comments were made by him in his personal capacity.

"So far as the BJP is concerned, whatever disciplinary action it had to take, has been taken. Sengar has been expelled. Unless one is proved guilty, one is innocent in the eyes of the law. May be the MLA (Ashu) spoke on these lines," BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi told PTI.

The BJP expelled Sengar earlier this week amid growing public outrage.

According to the Supreme Court's order, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have taken over the security of the victim and her lawyer.

They have been deployed at the entry gate of the Critical Care Unit at the third floor of the Trauma Centre, where the victim is undergoing treatment.

Because of pneumonia, the rape survivor has also developed fever and is also being administered medication for controlling blood pressure. She is being given oxygen through a tube inserted in her windpipe, Trauma Centra in-charge Dr Sandeep Tiwari told PTI.

Though the lawyer has been taken off the ventilator, but he is not out of danger as he suffered head injuries, the doctor said.

CBI officials, including women officials, also visited the Trauma Centre on Friday and Saturday to speak to the victim's family members.

Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took to Twitter to thank young girls for supporting her party's signature campaign to seek justice for the Unnao rape survivor.

"Thank you to all the girls from Lucknow for coming out so strongly in support of #UnnaoKiBeti, if all of us stand together, we can force those who empower rapists and criminals into consciousness and change," she said in a tweet.

The Congress leader also posted pictures of girls signing the boards placed outside universities and colleges in Uttar Pradesh. 

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