One of the accused in the Unnao rape case on Monday approached Supreme Court, seeking an extension of the time slated for completion of the trial in the matter.
Shashi Singh, who is accused in all five cases, requested the top court to grant the extension, holding that period of 45 days was only directory and not mandatory and the trial court ought to keep in minds the right of the accused to a fair and proper trial.
On August 1, the Supreme Court shifted the five cases connected with the Unnao rape incident to Delhi, assigned a special judge to conduct day-to-day trial and ordered that the trial should be completed within 45 days.
Singh, an associate of main accused, MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, sought modification of the order, saying that time fixed for completing the trial in all five cases in 45 days is highly irrational and prejudicial to the rights of accused for a fair and transparent trial.
She also told the court that the transfer of the case from Lucknow to Delhi hampered her defence as she had no lawyer in Delhi. Citing “material inconsistencies” and “discrepancies” in the statements made by the rape survivor, her mother and uncle before the investigating agency and courts, she said that she needs time to conduct proper cross-examination of the witnesses.
Singh also told the court that Central Bureau of Investigation has filed charge sheets in only three cases out of five. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta granted more time to the Central Bureau of Investigation to file status report into the Unnao rape survivor accident case and listed the matter for September 6 for further hearing.
The court had taken suo moto cognizance of a letter written by the victim’s family alleging threats from Sengar’s aides.
On July 28, the car in which the rape survivor, her lawyer and two aunts were travelling was hit by a speeding truck in Rae Bareli. Both her aunts were killed in the accident and the rape survivor and her lawyer were left critically injured. Brought to AIIMS last month, both the rape survivor and her lawyer are on advanced life support systems, and being treated by a multidisciplinary team from critical care, orthopaedics, trauma surgery and pulmonary medicine departments.
The Unnao rape case hit the headlines in 2017 after the then 16-year-old girl alleged that she was raped by BJP MLA Sengar.