Fresh summons were on Friday issued by a fast-track court against Congress MP Mahabal Mishra and his family members for their alleged role in the kidnapping and rape of a minor girl in 2006, after he they failed to appear before it.
The fast-track court, set up to try cases of sexual offences against women, directed Mishra, his wife Urmila, daughter Kiran and brother Hira Mishra to "positively" appear before it on February 18, the next date of hearing.
The court granted exemption to Mishra and his family members from personal appearance for the day after their counsel submitted that they have not been served with the summons issued earlier as they are not in Delhi.
The counsel told the court that their absence was not "intentional or deliberate" as they came to know of the earlier summons only through the media since Mishra, his wife and daughter had gone to the Maha Kumbh mela while Hira Mishra had gone to Patna to perform some rituals.
Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat allowed the plea saying, "In view of the facts and circumstances, the exemption is granted to the four accused for Friday. The accused should appear in this court positively on the next date on February 18."
The court had on February 4 asked them to appear before it after going through the case in which they have been accused of wrongfully confining a minor girl.
The victim and her father had alleged she was confined at Mishra's office at Mahavir Enclave in West Delhi and his brother's house for some days after being kidnapped and that his family members told her to marry the prime accused Pradeep Sehrawat who faces the rape charge.
The case relates to an incident in November 2006 when Sehrawat had allegedly kidnapped the 16-year-old when she was on her way to tuition in a West Delhi locality. During the proceeding, Delhi Police officials told the court that the summons had been returned un-served as when they had gone to Mishra's residence, his security guard told them that the Congress MP and his family had gone out of Delhi.
Apart from these four accused, the others who have been charge sheeted by the police in the case are -- Pradeep Sehrawat, Devender, Sunil, Surendra and Satinder.
These five accused are out on bail and were present in the court on Friday.
The names of Mishra and his family members were mentioned in the column 2, meant for the suspects but without evidence against them, of the supplementary charge sheet filed later by the police.
A magisterial court in 2008 and a sessions court in 2010 had declined to summon Mishra in the case on the ground of lack of evidence and legal provisions.
The Delhi high court in 2012, however, set aside the trial court's order and directed it to consider the case afresh after the girl's father moved the high court seeking initiation of prosecution of Mishra and his family members, and also one Kanshi Ram, for their alleged involvement in the case.
The high court had set aside the orders of the sessions and the magisterial courts, saying they were "not based on proper appreciation of the material available on record."