(EDs: Updates with CM’s comments, suspension of six cops) Unnao (UP), Apr 9 (PTI) The father of an 18-year-old woman, who had alleged rape by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his brothers, died in custody here today, prompting her to put the blame on the lawmaker, who rejected the charge as a conspiracy and said the complainant belonged to “low class”.
The alleged victim’s father, aged around 50, was rushed to a hospital from the district jail last night and died during treatment today. He was arrested on April 5 under the Arms Act, police officials said. The news of his death spread like wildfire with opposition parties slamming the BJP government even as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath promised action against the guilty.
Sengar maintained the allegations against him were part of a conspiracy.
“They belong to a low status family (‘nimn star ke log hain’)…This is a conspiracy by my opponents,” Sengar told reporters.
Chief Minister Adityanath sought a report on the incident and assured those found guilty will be punished.
“The incident is unfortunate. ADG, Lucknow, has been asked to give his report and probe the matter, and if any policeman is found guilty, action will be taken. Whosoever is guilty will not be spared,” Adityanath said.
District Magistrate Ravi Kumar NG said the post-mortem examination of the victim would be conducted by a panel of doctors to ascertain the exact cause of death.
The victim, however, claimed her family had received threats in the past and accused the MLA.
He was “killed at the behest of the BJP MLA” inside the jail, she alleged. “We were getting threats and they killed my father,” she added while speaking to reporters.
Uttar Pradesh’s Power Minister and government spokesman Shrikant Sharma told reporters that a magisterial probe had been ordered.
“If the allegations are true, it’s a very unfortunate incident. For a fair probe, the inquiry has been shifted to Lucknow from Unnao. The state government is committed to ensuring justice to the victim’s family,” he said.
Superintendent of Police, Unnao, Pushpanjali said four accused six policemen, including SHO Makhi Ashok Kumar Singh, outpost incharge and four beat constables have been suspended.
UP Director General of Police O P Singh said a Lucknow Police team had been constituted to probe the entire matter.
“Whosoever is found guilty, strict action will be taken. None will be spared,” he said.
Asked about the allegations against MLA Sengar, the DGP said, “Till now these are allegations. Probe is on. Action will be taken against those found guilty.” The woman had yesterday tried to immolate herself near Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow, alleging rape by the BJP MLA and his brothers. The immolation bid was, however, foiled by the police. She had alleged that the Unnao police had not registered a case against the BJP MLA despite her complaint and no action was taken, police said.
Attacking the BJP government, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet, “In (UP) state a girl, going for coaching classes is being shot dead…Another girl accusing BJP MLA of gangrape tried to immolate herself in front of CM’s residence after disappointment from the government. Is this fear of government of ‘encounter’ that instead of criminals, woman are getting terrified?(sic)” Congress spokesman Dwijendra Tripathi said, “The death inside a jail is mysterious. Had the government and the administration not worked under the pressure of the BJP MLA, the death could have been avoided. We demand a high-level probe into the matter and security to the rape victim.” Sengar represents the Bangermau constituency in Unnao district, around 90 km from the state capital.
When contacted, Sengar refuted the allegations against him and said, “It is a conspiracy hatched by my political opponents to tarnish my image and damage my reputation…I have no problem with any probe. Let a probe be conducted, and the guilty be given the stringent punishment. If I am found guilty in the probe, I am ready to face punishment.”
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.