Agencies: Uttar Pradesh Police Chief OP Singh triggered a controversy on Thursday when he referred to MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, an accused in the Unnao rape case, as ‘mananiya MLA’ during a press conference called to announce that the case has been handed over to the CBI. Addressing reporters with Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar, Singh said it was up to the CBI to arrest the lawmaker, who has been charged with raping an 18-year-old woman whose father died in police custody later.
Taking questions from the media, Singh referred to Sengar as ‘mananiya’ (respected), drawing a protest from the reporters present. Singh, however, said there was nothing wrong in calling the MLA ‘mananiya’ since he was an accused and “not a convict”. “There is no issue in using the word ‘mananiya’ for the MLA. He is just an accused and not convicted as of now,” Singh said.
However, sensing a controversy in the making, Singh was quick to add that “nobody is trying to defend him. But now when the case is being transferred to the CBI, it’s their call to decide on the arrest of the MLA. Meanwhile, the SIT constituted will continue to work till the time the CBI takes over the case.”
The Uttar Pradesh government has handed over the twin cases of the alleged rape of an 18-year-old woman and the custodial death of her father in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao to the CBI even as the ruling BJP tries to distance itself from the charges against its MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar. The MLA was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and POCSO at Unnao’s Makhi Police Station on Thursday morning.
The decision to handover the case to the CBI was taken late on Wednesday, hours after the BJP MLA made a dramatic appearance before the police but refused to surrender. “An FIR be lodged under appropriate sections considering the allegations of rape levied on MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and others and the investigation be handed over to CBI,” the Principal Secretary (Information) had said in an statement. “Investigation in to cross cases pertaining to incidents leading to the death of the victim’s father be also handed over to the CBI.”
The decisions were taken after the Special Investigation Team constituted under Additional Director General of Police (Lucknow zone) to look into the matter submitted its report to the government. The MLA has denied the allegations and termed the charges against him as a political conspiracy.