Unnao rape case: Court seeks report on security of witnesses, arrangements for family's stay in Delhi

Sengar, a four-time legislator who represents Bangermau in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, is the main accused in the rape case and is lodged in jail since April, 2018.

Published: 07th August 2019 01:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th August 2019 01:09 AM   |  A+A-

An ambulance carries the Unnao rape survivor for being airlifted to New Delhi from the KGMU Trauma Centre in Lucknow on 5 August 2019. (Photo | PTI)

An ambulance carries the Unnao rape survivor for being airlifted to New Delhi from the KGMU Trauma Centre in Lucknow on 5 August 2019. (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court Tuesday expressed concern over the safety of Unnao rape survivor -- who was critically injured when her car was hit by a truck recently and is now in ICU at AIIMS here after being airlifted from Lucknow -- and sought a report in a sealed cover from the CBI by tomorrow.

The court also sought a status report on the steps taken to ensure security of the woman's family members and witnesses in the case after the CBI said that it was facing resource constraint.

District Judge Dharmesh Sharma asked the CBI to also file the report on Wednesday on the measures being taken for ensuring boarding, lodging and daily allowances of the persons attending the survivor here.

The court sought the report on the steps taken to protect the life and liberty of the witnesses in the case by the probe agency by August 8.

READ HERE | Unnao rape survivor critical, on life support system: AIIMS sources

The Unnao rape survivor was admitted to the AIIMS Trauma Centre in Delhi on Monday night after being airlifted from King George Hospital at Lucknow following the yesterday's direction of the apex court to the Uttar Pradesh government to transfer her to Delhi during the day.

The woman, allegedly raped by Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor, is battling for life after a truck rammed into the car she was travelling in with some family members and her lawyer in Rae Bareli.

Two of her aunts died in the accident on July 28, 2019.

Sengar and nine others were also booked for murder by the CBI in the accident case.

The apex court had transferred four criminal cases from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi -- the 2017 rape case; a fake matter under the Arms Act against the father of the rape survivor; his death in police custody, and the gang rape of the woman -- and directed to hold trial on a daily basis completing it within 45-days.

The trial court was hearing three of the cases on Tuesday -- the matter under the Arms Act against the survivor's father; his death in police custody, and the gang rape.

Sengar and 11 other accused in these cases were produced before the court by the Uttar Pradesh police from Lucknow.

One of the accused, who has not been arrested yet, did not appear before it.

The court directed that all the accused be shifted to the Tihar prison from a jail in Lucknow.

It had on Monday also directed Sengar and his accomplice Shashi Singh, who had allegedly lured the minor to the legislature's residence, to be shifted to the Tihar prison.

Fourteen people have been named in the two charge sheets filed by the CBI in the case -- out of which five were out on bail, eight in judicial custody and one has not been arrested yet.

During the hearing, when the court asked the counsel for CBI, Ashok Bhartendu, to apprise it about the steps taken for protection of the witnesses in the case, he said the probe agency was facing resource constraint with regard to the issue.

He told the court that the CBI was facing problems in providing accommodation to all the witnesses and lacked enough personnel to provide adequate protection to them.

To this, the Judge was irked and said, "You are the CBI. Do not tell me you have limited resources."

It sought a report on the steps taken for witness protection in the case.

"The CBI is directed to submit a report as to what steps or measures have been taken for the protection, safety of life and liberty of other witnesses in the case and for which they may get in touch with the Director General of Uttar Pradesh Police and file appropriate report by August 8," the court said.

During the hour-long hearing, the court was informed that the issue of security cover and protection of the survivor and her family was being looked after by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

The Judge expressed his strong displeasure when the accused said that since they have been brought today from Lucknow, they did not have time to engage their own lawyers.

"You know the Supreme Court's order to complete the trial within 45 days. Do you want to stay in jail for a long time?" he said.

Hence, though the counsel for CBI said he was prepared for arguments for charge, the court adjourned the matter for Wednesday.

It said, "In case the accused cannot afford to engage a private lawyer due to financial constraints or otherwise, the court shall provide free legal aid and services. Legal aid is your constitutional right. Emphasising on the survivor's welfare, the court directed the counsels for the survivor to get back to the family and bring before it tomorrow (August 7) if there was any particular concern of the survivor or her family. We know CRPF squad has been deployed for her security. Beyond that, what is required we do not know. Meet the survivor and see if she has any particular requirement and inform the court tomorrow. Also there are many women shelters in Delhi. You can see if the family members attending her at the Trauma Centre can be accommodated there," the judge suggested.

It was also informed that the survivor has been paid a compensation of Rs 25 lakhs as per the apex court's order.

"The secretary of District Legal Services Authority, Unnao, should ensure that in case of any assistance was required by the survivor and her family with regard to opening or operation of bank account. All possible help shall be rendered to them," the court said.

Sengar, a four-time legislator who represents Bangermau in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, is the main accused in the rape case and is lodged in jail since April, 2018.

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