Amid heightened public anger over the Unnao rape case in Uttar Pradesh, key accused in the case, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday.
Sengar was taken into custody after intense questioning for 16 hours by a Central Bureau of Investigation team at its office on Naval Kishore Road in Lucknow.Meanwhile, trouble mounted for the BJP government in the state, with the Allahabad High Court saying that the Adityanath administration's approach towards arresting Sengar is "not only appalling but shocks the conscience of the court". Further, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav said that law and order had collapsed in the state and demanded that the governor should take suo motu cognisance and recommend President's Rule in Uttar Pradesh. Yadav also demanded Rs 5 million compensation for the Unnao rape case survivor's family.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is facing severe flak over the delay in action against BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar accused in the Unnao rape case, on Friday said his government has not deviated from its zero-tolerance policy on crime and will firmly deal with criminals, no matter how influential they might be. Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court on Friday called for Sengar's arrest and said that mere detention was not enough. The High Court also asked the CBI to submit the status of the investigation on May 2. The CBI, for its part, picked up Kuldeep Singh Sengar from his residence in Lucknow on Friday morning. They have filed three cases against the accused lawmaker.
Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi led a candle march at India Gate on Wednesday night to protest against the atrocities against women — horrific rape case in Kathua and Unnao — during the tenure of Narendra Modi-led BJP government. Gandhi vehemently criticized the ruling party for "shielding the brutality" and main villains in both the rape case. "This is not a political issue but a national issue. We are seeking justice", Gandhi told reporters.
The Congress is seeking to take forward the protest against the Kathua and Unnao rape cases and has asked its cadres at state and district headquarters to stage similar demonstrations across the country, demanding justice for the victims. Sources said Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has asked party cadres to organise similar protests today in support of protection of women. They said party general secretary (organisation) Ashok Gehlot has told all state Congress chiefs to galvanise the cadres in each state and stage candlelight marches at all state and district headquarters.
The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government ordered a CBI to probe in the matter amid public outcry and sharp criticism by opposition parties on Wednesday. An FIR has also been registered against the accused MLA under Section 363 (kidnapping), Section 366 (abduction of woman), Section 376 (rape), Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, earlier.Here are the latest updates in the Unnao rape case involving an 18-year-old girl and allegedly BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar:
1) CBI arrests Kuldeep Singh Sengar: After grilling him for 16 hours, CBI on Friday arrested Sengar in the connection with the alleged rape case.
He was brought to the CBI office in Lucknow at around 5 am on Friday, CBI officials said in New Delhi.
2) BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar grilled by CBI for 15 hours: Amid public anger, the CBI on Friday questioned BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the key accused in a case for raping a minor girl in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao, even as the Allahabad High Court ordered his immediate arrest, saying that he was influencing the "law and order machinery". Soon after taking over the case, the CBI brought Sengar to its office in Lucknow at around 5 am for questioning. A team also visited the crime scenes in Makhi village and examined family members, witnesses and hospital officials where the rape victim and her father were taken for treatment.
The CBI continued interrogating Sengar at the CBI Zonal office in Lucknow late into the evening. According to news agency ANI, Sengar was questioned for at least 15 hours.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) continues interrogation of BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar at CBI Zonal office in Lucknow; he is being questioned since past 15 hours #UnnaoRapeCase pic.twitter.com/jjUBRFKylu— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 13, 2018
3) Adityanath government's approach appalling, shocks our conscience, says HC: Taking strong objection to the UP government's submission that Sengar would not be arrested on mere registration of an FIR, the Allahabad High Court said that this approach is "not only appalling but shocks the conscience of the court in the backdrop of the instant case". It directed the CBI to arrest Sengar and the other accused named in the FIR forthwith and carry out further investigations. It also directed the agency to file a status report by May 2.
Read here what PM Modi had to say about the Unnao and Kathua rape cases: Kathua, Unnao rapes: Modi ends silence, assures 'complete justice'; updates
4) Akhilesh demands action against cops involved in Unnao rape case: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday demanded action against the policemen for their handling of the Unnao rape case. Further, he called for a compensation of Rs 5 million (Rs 50 lakh) for the victim's family and a government job for the victim. "The policemen involved in the incident should also be identified and punished. The victim's family should be given a Rs 50-lakh compensation and the victim should be given a government job, security, accommodation and other facilities," the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.
Claiming that the people of the state were living in fear and feeling insecure, he said, "After the (Allahabad) High Court's observation, it is proved that law-and-order has collapsed in the state. The governor should take suo motu cognisance and recommend President's Rule in Uttar Pradesh."
Read our coverage of Thursday's developments in the Unnao rape case: Unnao rape case: Rahul Gandhi leads midnight candlelight protest; updates
5) SP calls for placing UP under President's rule: The Samajwadi Party on Friday demanded that President's rule be imposed in Uttar Pradesh because of the deteriorating law and order, especially after the Unnao rape case. "This government should not continue even for a single day and Article 356 needs to be invoked and the state brought under President's rule," SP vice-president Kiranmoy Nanda told reporters in Lucknow.
ALSO READ: Unnao rape case: Why has BJP MLA not been arrested yet, HC asks UP govt
6) Modi breaks silence, says justice will be done to Kathua and Unnao victims: In his first comments on the gruesome incidents of rape in Kathua and Unnao, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that no criminal will be spared and the country's daughters will get justice. Facing political heat over the two rape incidents, Modi added that such incidents shake our sensibilities. "I want to assure the nation that no criminal will be spared. Justice will be done. Our daughters will get justice," he said at an event to inaugurate the B R Ambedkar memorial.
"The incidents that are in discussion in the country for the last two days do not reflect good for any civilised country. This is shameful. It's an insult to the freedom fighters who gave their lives for the Independence of this country. We are all ashamed as a society, as a country," Modi said after a nationwide outrage over the incidents.
"As soon as the matter came to the notice of the government on April 9, we immediately constituted an SIT (Special Investigation Team) and initiated action in the matter... The policemen and doctors found guilty in the SIT report were suspended," the chief minister told reporters in Chitrakoot. "We have referred the matter to the CBI... Our government will not compromise on the zero-tolerance policy it has followed against crime and corruption since the beginning. We will firmly deal with criminals, however influential they might be," Adityanath said.
Activist from the left parties participating in a protest over government's alleged 'inaction' in Kathua and Unnao rape incidents, in Mumbai on Friday | Photo: PTI8) Stern action to be taken against the guilty, says Irani: Union minister Smriti Irani today said stern action will be taken against those found guilty in the Unnao rape case and condemned what she said were efforts to "politicise" such cases. "The law and the administration will work according to the Constitution and an appeal in this regard has been made by senior persons in the BJP. There are some people who want to politicise such incidents, but as a woman, I believe and it is my request that victim-shaming should not be done," she said, responding to reporters' questions on the Unnao case.
9) Arrest Kuldeep Singh, Allahabad HC tells CBI: Allahabad HC ordered the CBI to probe all three FIRs and cancel the bail of the accused who are in the custody. CBI should submit the status of the investigation, the Court asked.
Kuldeep Sengar should be arrested, and not just detained, the Allahabad HC said while hearing the case. The court on Thursday strongly objected to the delay in BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar's arrest.
10) Uttar Pradesh Police under the scanner: Uttar Pradesh police have come under the scanner in the alleged rape case of an 18-year-old. BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar's call details suggested that he was in touch with the Uttar Pradesh police, according to a report in India Today. CBI may also investigate the Superintendent of Police in Unnao, the Chief Medical Officer, Safipur Circle Officer, jail doctors and the other accused who have been sent to jail.
Rahul Gandhi leads midnight candle vigil at India Gate: Rahul Gandhi led a midnight candle vigil at India Gate on Thursday night to protest against the rape incidents in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua and Uttar Pradesh's Unnao.
Congress leaders including Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Ashok Gehlot, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Sushmita Dev walked from the party headquarters at 24 Akbar Road to the India Gate along with hundreds of party workers holding candles.
"We want the government to take action. Today, women are feeling insecure to move out of their houses. Somewhere a child, a woman is raped, killed and we want that the government should resolve this. The women of the country should feel safe," he said.
We want the govt to act against violence & crimes against women. This is a national issue, not a political issue. You can see people across parties have joined. Women should at least feel safe: Rahul Gandhi at the candlelight march against Kathua & Unnao cases. #Delhi pic.twitter.com/CnCX9J9oey— ANI (@ANI) April 12, 2018
With agency inputs