The Uttar Pradesh government has withdrawn the ‘Y’ category security cover to BJP MLA from Bangarmau, Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
The MLA is accused of raping a teenage girl in Unnao last year and was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case.
According to reports, the state government had pulled back the security cover immediately after the filing of an FIR against the legislator on 12 April.
Legislators with ‘Y’ category security cover are guarded by 11 personnel and 2 personal Security Officers (PSOs) who are tasked with ensuring the safety of the residence and the person they are tasked to protect.
The news of the withdrawal of his security cover comes amid growing criticism of the central and state governments – both of which are led by the BJP – over the handling of the case.
The CBI had on 13 April arrested Sengar after intense questioning for about 16 hours by a CBI team at its office on Naval Kishore Road in Lucknow. The MLA was brought to the office at around 5 am on Friday.
His arrest came after the Allahabad High Court, on the same day, ordered his immediate arrest on the grounds that Sengar was “influencing” the law and order machinery.
The strongman from Bangarmau, an assembly seat he won in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections, has been accused by the girl of raping her in June 2017.
The girl’s father died in a hospital after he was allegedly thrashed by Sengar’s brother, Atul, on 3 April. The police arrested the girl’s father on the same day.
On 8 April, the girl attempted suicide outside Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s home in Lucknow thus bringing the matter to national attention.
The next day, the girl’s father died at the district hospital where he was undergoing treatment.
Though Sengar has been claiming innocence, the state government came under fire for not acting against the politician in spite of repeated accusations.
An FIR was finally registered against Sengar in Makhi police station on 12 April. He was charged under sections 363 (kidnapping), 366 (abduction of woman), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The FIR was filed only after the orders came from the Yogi Adityanath government. The state government also ordered the handing over of the twin cases of rape and the custodial death of the victim’s father to the CBI.
Facing flak over the delay in taking action against the MLA in the nearly year-old rape case, Adityanath later said that his government will not deviate from its zero-tolerance policy on crime and that it would firmly deal with criminals, no matter how influential they might be.