The Unnao police booked Sengar under various sections of the IPC and provisions of the POCSO Act, but said the CBI will take a decision about his arrest.
The police in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday registered a first information report against Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in connection with the alleged gang rape of a minor girl in Unnao, hours after the government said it would hand the probe over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the probe on Thursday evening.
Earlier, Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said, "Till the premier investigating agency takes over, the local police would continue with the probe, but a decision on whether the accused MLA from the ruling party would be arrested would be taken by the CBI."
However, the Allahabad high court came down heavily on the Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday, asking it whether it proposes to arrest the accused BJP MLA.
A bench of Chief Justice D B Bhosale and Justice Suneet Kumar, taking cognisance of the case on a letter to the court by senior lawyer Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi, heard the matter in detail and will pronounce its order on Friday.
The court also questioned the conduct of the police in the case, saying whom will a victim approach to register a complaint.
Advocate General Raghvendra Singh, who was present in the court on its direction, informed the bench that on August 17, 2017, an application was sent to the Chief Minister's Office in which allegations of rape was made against the MLA.
The application was forwarded to officers concerned in Unnao to take appropriate action, he said.
To this, the bench questioned what has been done in the case and whether any arrests have been made so far.
Singh replied that three of the accused have been arrested, including the MLA's brother.
The court then asked the Advocate General whether the government proposes to arrest Sengar.
Singh said that he was not in a position to make any statement in this regard and police will proceed in accordance with law only after recording statements of the complainant and witnesses.
The court referred to the SIT report and said, 'according to it, medical officers and police officers, all were hand in glove with the accused to save them and you acted on this report against those officers but for arresting rape accused you need to do further investigation'.
"Police was not ready to register FIR of the minor rape victim. In spite of the SIT report, you are repeating that we can only take any action after further investigation, if this is the conduct of the police in state, whom will a victim approach to register a complaint. If this is the stand you are repeatedly taking, then we will be forced to observe in our order that ‘law and order has collapsed in the state'," it said.
According to Chaturvedi, the SIT conducted preliminary investigation and then filed a report after which an FIR was registered and still the state government wants to conduct further probe before arresting the accused MLA.
Chaturvedi has demanded a court-monitored investigation of the incident and also death of the victim's father in judicial custody.
The Unnao police earlier on Thursday registered the case against Sengar under various sections of the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act in the Makhi police station area.
Under POCSO, an accused has to be arrested immediately after a case been filed.
The FIR has been registered under Sections 376 (rape), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman to compel her into marriage), 363 (kidnapping) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
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Principal Secretary (Information) Avanish Awasthi had said in an statement late Wednesday night that an FIR would be lodged under appropriate sections against Sengar and others and the investigation would be handed over to CBI.
To a volley of questions on whether Sengar would be arrested now that a case had been registered, Kumar said the CBI would take a decision on this depending on the merit of the case after investigations.
The principal secretary (Home) and state Director General of Police O P Singh said the MLA had not been named in the statement given before the magistrate earlier as the minor had said she feared for her life.
Kumar also dismissed allegations that police was trying to shield the MLA, and said it was because of these charges that the probe was being given to the CBI.
The government has also decided to extend security to the family of the 17-year-old girl, the DGP said.
He said no one found guilty would be spared and added that action had already been taken against some policemen and doctors for laxity and negligence.
Two doctors have been suspended and disciplinary proceedings initiated against three others for laxity in providing the victim's father with proper medical care and treatment prior to his judicial custody and at the district hospital, Kumar said.
Safipur Circle Officer Kunwar Bahadur Singh was also suspended for negligence in handling the victim’s repeated complaints, he said.
Kumar said the government had decided to transfer the case to the CBI after lodging the case into the incidents of June 4, 2017, (alleged rape) and since the two other cases of April 3 this year (cross FIRs on the beating up of the victim's father leading to his death) are connected, they be also transferred to the CBI.
WATCH: 'Who rapes a mother of 3 children?' BJP MLA defends Sengar
The officials also clarified why an FIR was not lodged against the MLA earlier saying this was because the teenager had not mentioned his name in the statement given before the magistrate.
Now that the girl and her family have told the SIT, which visited them on Wednesday, that they had not done so because of fear, a case has been registered against the MLA, they said.
The DGP was asked by the reporters why he continued to refer to the MLA as mananiya or honourable since he was an accused in a rape case.
He was according him respect because Sengar was a people’s representative and charges against him had not been proved, the DGP replied.
"The respect that is being given to the accused is because he is an MLA... he is not a convict so far. Only a charge has been levelled against him and the case is being handed over to the CBI for investigation. The CBI will now decide whether he has to be arrested or not on the merit of the case," he said.
Meanwhile, the Yogi Adityanath government came under opposition fire, with Congress workers protesting on the streets in Lucknow demanding the arrest of the accused lawmaker while Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati expressed apprehensions that the case might be put on the back burner after being handed over to the CBI.
In the state capital, Congress workers belonging to the party's women and youth wings even had a scuffle with police personnel deployed in strength to prevent them from marching to the chief minister's residence.
Congress workers raised slogans against the state government and demanded the arrest of Sengar.
BSP chief Mayawati targeted the BJP claiming that by ordering a CBI probe, instead of arresting the MLA, the issue could be ‘put on the back burner like the Vyapam case of Madhya Pradesh’.
In a statement, Mayawati also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for observing a fast over the stalemate in Parliament, saying they should instead hold a ‘upvas (fast) of repentence’ on the ghats of Varanasi against the ‘misdeeds’ of their party MLA.
"Modi needs to apologise to the people of the state, from where he is an MP, for the rampant 'jungleraj' because of which Sengar is not being arrested," she added.
The alleged rape case had come into the limelight after the victim tried to immolate herself outside Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence alleging police inaction against the BJP MLA.
On Wednesday night, the SIT constituted by the government handed over its report to the government after which it was decided an FIR would be lodged against the MLA and the case handed over to the CBI.
The teen rape survivor has alleged that she was confined to a hotel room by the district administration, leaving her “without a phone or water and guards at every corner”.
On Thursday, she demanded the immediate arrest of the MLA, saying that the CBI probe could be conducted later.
"We have no objection to the inquiry but he should be arrested first...why is he being shielded," she told the electronic media.
"If the MLA is allowed to remain out he will not leave my uncle... He had earlier too hatched conspiracies against my kin," she said.
The teenager added, “Only when he is arrested, I will be satisfied and I will be able to say that the BJP government is doing justice.”
A purported video of the alleged rape survivor’s father before his death has also gone viral and was aired by several TV channels. In the video, he alleged he was mercilessly beaten up, including with rifle butts, by the MLA’s brother and others.
It also showed the victim’s father -- who died on Monday -- with serious wounds on his back.
The veracity of the video could not be ascertained.
The wife of the accused, Sangeeta Sengar, had on Wednesday demanded narco-tests of her husband and the 17-year-old girl.
With ANI inputs