Serve fresh notice to Azam Khan in Bulandshahr gang rape case: SC to CBI

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure over the non-appearance of Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan in the Bulandshahr gang rape case through his lawyer despite service of a court notice on him and directed the CBI to serve a fresh notice on him.

“In our considered opinion, respondent number 2 (Khan) should have entered (an) appearance as there is a direct allegation against him. In view of the aforesaid, we direct (the) CBI to serve the notice on respondent number 2,” a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said in its order.

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Azam Khan, the state Urban Development Minister and Samajwadi Party leader, was issued notice on August 29 for his reported comment that the gang rape was a political conspiracy.

The petitioner’s father has sought registration of an FIR against Khan.

Issuing notice to Azam Khan on August 29, the apex court had said that one can understand if the accused makes a statement brushing away the offence alleged against him but how can a person in authority, who has nothing to do with it, comment on the crime.

During the August 29 hearing, the court had appointed senior counsel Fali Nariman as amicus curiae to assist the court in addressing four issues framed by it, including whether a person in a position of authority in the state government could comment on a crime involving rape, murder or any other heinous offence, and whether such comments should be allowed as they create doubts in the mind of the victim about a fair trial.

The minor girl and her mother were allegedly gang-raped on the national highway near Bulandshahr while the family was on their way to their ancestral village on July 29.

The girl’s father has told the court that the minor victim suffered trauma for five hours in his and other family members’ presence and when they called police, it did not respond for 25 minutes.

The case was subsequently handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.