As a political storm and public outcry over the Unnao rape case raged, the wife of the accused BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh today demanded narco tests on her husband and also the 18-year-old victim, who alleged confinement by local authorities.
The judiciary also stepped in with the Allahabad High Court seeking the Yogi Adityanath-led state government's stand on the incident on a letter to the court by senior lawyer Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi detailing the incident and posted the matter for hearing tomorrow. The Supreme Court also decided to hear next week a plea by an advocate for a CBI probe into the rape case.
A Special Investigation Team headed by Additional Director General of Police (Lucknow zone) visited Makhi village from where the rape victim hailed and collected information to submit a report to the chief minister.
"The SIT team will probe on all the aspects of the case and act accordingly. Security has been provided to the victim's family," ADGP (Lucknow zone) Rajiv Krishna said.
The Congress latched on to the case to hit out at the BJP government with party president Rahul Gandhi wondering if Prime Minister Narendra Modi would observe a fast on the alleged rape and death of the complainant's father in custody, which he said "has shamed humanity".
The victim, who had tried to immolate herself outside the chief minister's house just a day before her 50-year-old father died on Monday, alleged that she has been confined to a hotel room by the district administration, leaving her "without a phone or water and guards at every corner".
She also accused the MLA's brother and their henchmen of killing her elder uncle earlier. "I want justice, why are they putting pressure on me for an apology? Do they want my (another) uncle to be killed too?" she told TV channels.
A purported video of the alleged rape survivor's father before his death also went viral and was shown by several TV channels, in which he alleged that he was mercilessly beaten up by the MLA's brother and others, including with rifle butts. It also showed the deceased person's back with serious wounds, but its veracity could not be ascertained.
In the state capital, Sangeeta Sengar, the wife of the accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, told reporters after meeting state police chief O P Singh that there was a political conspiracy against her family and accused the complainant of not being consistent in her statements.
"We demand that a narco test be conducted on my husband and the girl as well as her uncle. This will help in ascertaining the truth and presenting the correct picture. There are political reasons behind this and my husband has been made a pawn," Sangeeta Sengar said. The narco analysis test is a type of psychological investigation.
"My husband is innocent and it is my request that he should not be called a rapist. He has been in politics for the past 15 years and has been serving the society and people," she said, adding that her daughters were unable to concentrate on their studies in the wake of this incident.
She said the allegations against her brother-in-law Atul, who was arrested yesterday, were false too.
The MLA's wife, as also the alleged rape survivor, have demanded a CBI probe into the entire matter.
The Congress party demanded the dismissal of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, alleging that his government was a "Ravan" regime which has failed to protect women.
Taking a swipe at the prime minister's proposed hunger strike over the non-functioning of Parliament, Rahul Gandhi separately tweeted, "The barbarism inflicted on a father seeking justice for his daughter in Uttar Pradesh has shamed humanity. Hope the prime minister will soon observe a fast over atrocities against women, failed law and order and increasing anarchy under the BJP's watch."
The Congress president also posted a purported video in which the woman's father is seen speaking against the BJP MLA.
In the Supreme Court, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said it would hear a plea next week for a CBI probe. The plea also alleged that the woman's father was tortured and killed in police custody at the behest of the "ruling party" in the state.
The petition, filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, sought the court's direction to the CBI to probe the alleged kidnapping and rape of a minor girl in July last year "by the BJP MLA and his companion and custodial death of her father via torture" on April 9.
Alleging that the complaint had not mentioned the name of the legislator "under political pressure" and that the state police would not carry out a "fair investigation under compulsion", it said the matter should be handed over to the CBI for an independent investigation.
Reacting to the incident, Amnesty International India's Asmita Basu said, "The reported failure of the Uttar Pradesh police to register an FIR against the accused, the harassment faced by the survivor and her family, and the death of her father in custody paint a chilling picture."
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