In what will be perceived to be a major embarrassment for the BJP government of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday took suo motu cognisance of developments in the Unnao rape case.
An 18-year-old woman had accused a BJP MLA, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, and his accomplices of raping her. The victim's father died on Monday of injuries sustained while he was in police custody.
The Allahabad HC has appointed an amicus curiae in the case and will begin hearing the matter on Thursday. The HC has also halted the cremation of the victim's father.
Meanwhile, the victim has told media agencies that she has been 'confined' to a hotel room by the district magistrate and appealed to Adityanath.
In another development, the wife of Sengar met the UP DGP and claimed her husband and family were being harassed and sought that the victim and her husband be subjected to narco analysis. However, audio recordings have been circulated of a phone conversation purportedly between Sengar and the victim's uncle in which the MLA is heard pressuring him to withdraw the complaint.
A spokesperson of the state BJP, Rakesh Tripathi, on Wednesday sought to defend Sengar, claiming the victim had not initially named the leader. Tripathi added that the victim's relatives were associated with the Samajwadi Party.
On Tuesday, Sengar's brother and three others were arrested as the state police formed an SIT to investigate the matter. The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a plea next week seeking a CBI probe into the case.
(With agency inputs)