The approach of the learned Advocate General not only exudes an unpleasant flavour, but raises doubts about the bona fides of the police authorities at the highest level, said the Bench.
Allahabad High Court has ordered the arrest of BJP law maker Kuldeep Singh Sengar and other accused involved in the Unnao Rape Case.
“We, in the circumstances, are inclined to direct the Investigating Agency to cause arrest of the accused named in First Information Report No. 0096 dated 12.04.2018 forthwith”.
“The Investigating Officer/CBI, as the case may be, shall arrest Kuldeep Singh and the other accused in FIR No. 0096 registered on 12.04.2018 for the offences punishable under Sections 363, 366, 376, 506 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of POCSO Act forthwith and carry out further investigation within the time stipulated under the provisions of CrPC”, directed the Division bench of Justices Chief Justice Dilip Bhosale and Suneet Kumar while hearing a suo motu petition.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice D.B. Bhosle and Justice Suneet Kumar took cognizance of a letter written to it by Senior Advocate Gopal S. Chaturvedi detailing the incident.The case concerns the alleged involvement of MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in the rape of an 18-year-old girl. The survivor had tried to immolate herself outside the Chief Minister's house just a day before her 50-year-old father passed away.
The father was in police custody in Unnao right before he died, prompting the girl to charge that he was killed inside the district jail at the behest of the BJP MLA. The post-mortem reportedly suggested that he died due to shock and septicemia as "all the ante-mortem injuries on the victim’s body were fatal".
Slamming the Government the Bench said
"The disturbing feature of the case is that the law and order machinery and the government officials were directly in league and under the influence of Kuldeep Singh. The Doctor did not examine the prosecutrix, nor did the Circle Officer, Shafipur, register the crime, though hand written complaint of the prosecutrix was sent from the office of the Chief Minister. On petty offence, father of prosecutrix was beaten up by the brother, and the goons of Kuldeep Singh and was arrested and in the custody was beaten mercilessly. It further appears that false cases were lodged against the family members. Finally, father of the prosecutrix succumbed to injuries. The prosecutrix unable to face the pressures exercised upon her by Kuldeep Singh, who was having the backing of the law and order machinery of district Unnao, attempted to immolate herself to draw the attention of the society that she needs help and protection of the custodians of law, which was put to the winds at the behest of the accused Kuldeep Singh.
We are constrained to record the approach and attitude of the learned Advocate General, during the course of hearing, in contending that no accused person, including Kuldeep Singh, can be arrested without the Investigating Officer following the procedure prescribed under CrPC and collecting evidence in support of the allegation of rape.
It is sought to be urged that the FIR has been registered by the police against Kuldeep Singh on 12 April 2018 and that the Investigating Officer after recording statement of witnesses, including the accused, and the prosecutrix under Section 161 CrPC would proceed, and on credible evidence, the accused may be arrested but as on date, he submits that the accused Kuldeep Singh would not be arrested on merely registering of the FIR. The approach of the learned Advocate General is not only appalling but shocks the conscience of the Court in the backdrop of the instant case.
The prosecutrix and her family members have been running from post to pillar but her complaint was not registered, despite approaching the Chief Minister. The influence of the accused Kuldeep Singh in the district police administration is such that the Circle Officer also declined to lodge the report on the complaint duly forwarded by the office of the Chief Minister. The Medical Officer declined to examine the prosecutrix, mandatorily required, where a woman alleges rape. Even the procedure for taking down the FIR/Crime 0316 dated 20.06.2017 under the provisions of CrPC was not followed. The complaint was not reduced to writing by a female police personnel and video graphed. False cases were lodged against the Chacha of the prosecutrix and on petty offence father was arrested and brutally assaulted. The Chief Medical Officer furnished fitness certificate and sent the father to jail where he succumbed to injuries. The accused Kuldeep Singh from the narration of facts in the report of ADG dated 11 April 2018, taken on face value, clearly reflects that the accused has been using his office and influence with impunity to tamper evidence and witnesses, further, has exercised undue influence with law and order machinery to manipulate and coerce the family members of the prosecutrix and brutally assaulted her father.
In the backdrop of the facts noted by the SIT, learned Advocate General on repeated query vehemently and categorically stated that the Investigating Officer will not arrest the accused Kuldeep Singh until statements under Section 161/164 CrPC are recorded and in the opinion of the Investigating Officer the accused is, prima facie, involved in the commission of the crime.
The approach of the learned Advocate General not only exudes an unpleasant flavour, but raises doubts about the bona fides of the police authorities at the highest level. We are unable to persuade ourselves in accepting the contention of learned Advocate General that the accused in the circumstances cannot be arrested. In our opinion, arrest of the accused in the present case is necessarily required to safeguard the majesty of law and the dignity of the prosecutrix and to instill confidence that free and fair investigation shall be undertaken by the Investigating agency.
Directions issued by the Court
(1) The Investigating Officer/CBI, as the case may be, shall arrest Kuldeep Singh and the other accused in FIR No. 0096 registered on 12.04.2018 for the offences punishable under Sections 363, 366, 376, 506 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of POCSO Act forthwith and carry out further investigation within the time stipulated under the provisions of CrPC. The IO is directed to comply with this direction as long as he continues to be an IO and also till the investigation is taken over by the CBI. It is needless to mention that if the CBI, before compliance of this direction by the IO, takes over the investigation of crime, shall arrest Kuldeep Singh and the other accused forthwith and carry out further investigation within the time stipulated under the provisions of CrPC.
(2) The CBI is directed to carry out further investigation/re-open the investigation of the crime, bearing Case Crime No. 0316 registered on 20 June 2017 for the offences under Sections 363, 366, 376-D of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of POCSO Act alongwith other three crimes being Nos. 0089 of 2018, 0090 of 2018 and 0096 of 2018 and take it to its logical end within the prescribed time.
(3) The IO/CBI shall follow the procedure strictly as laid down under the provisions of CrPC, for investigating the offences under Sections 376/376-D of IPC and the provisions of POCSO Act, in particular.
(4) The CBI may also consider whether cancellation of bail of all the accused in Crime No. 0316 of 2017 is necessary for carrying out free and fair further investigation.
(5) The IO/CBI shall place before this Court the status report on 02.05.2018 in the morning at 10.00 a.m. The office is directed to place this matter first on board on the next date of listing.