A Delhi court Wednesday said Kuldeep Singh Sengar, being a legislator, has to be tried as a public servant and framed fresh charges against him for allegedly raping a minor in Unnao in 2017.
The charges framed under section 3 and 4 (sexual assault against a child and its punishment) of the POCSO Act on August 9, were modified to section 5 (c) and 6 (public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child and its punishment) of the Act.
With the charges being modified, the offences now entail a minimum punishment of 10 years unlike under section 3 of the Act, where it was seven years.
The maximum punishment for both the charges is life imprisonment.
"I find that there is prima facie case to alter the charge from section 3 and 4 of the POCSO Act against Sengar to section 5 (c) read with section 6 of the POCSO Act...," District Judge Dharmesh Sharma said.
The court also modified its charges accordingly against Sengar's accomplice Shashi Singh.
It modified the charges considering the submissions made by advocate Dharmendra Mishra and Poonam Kaushik, appearing for survivor's mother. The submissions were supported by senior public prosecutor Ashok Bhartendu on behalf of the CBI.
The court had on August 9 put on trial the MLA, expelled from BJP.
It had said that prima facie charges were found against Sengar for allegedly conspiring with co-accused Shashi Singh to bring the girl to the legislator's residence on the pretext of getting her a job, sexually assaulting her and threatening to harm her and her family members if she disclosed the incident to anyone.
The court also framed charges against Singh for allegedly taking her to Sengar's house on June 4, 2017 without the consent of her parents with the knowledge that she would be subjected to rape.
The charges framed against the MLA include sections 376 (1)(rape), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping or inducing a woman to compel for marriage etc.), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 506 (criminal intimidation), punishable under India Penal Code, and sections 3 and 4 (penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO (Protection of Child from Sexual Offences) Act.
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.
The charges framed against Singh include sections 363 (kidnapping), 376 (1) (rape), 366 (abducting or inducing a woman to compel for marriage etc), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 109 (abetment) of the IPC, besides sections 3 and 4 of the POCSO Act, which are now modified.
Both the accused had denied the allegations saying they have been falsely implicated in the case and claimed trial.