The truck that hit the car of Unnao rape complainant in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli district on July 28 did not have a blackened number plate when it crossed a toll plaza in the district’s Lalganj area, The Times of India reported. Lalganj is about 20 km from the car crash site in Gurbakshganj.

CCTV footage showed the truck entering Rae Bareli around 5.20 am. The car crash took place around 12.40 pm. The vehicle’s registration number was reportedly visible in the footage. However, during the collision the number plate was found to have been blackened. The truck owner, Devendra Singh, has claimed he smudged the number as he had bought the truck on a loan from private financiers but was unable to repay them.

“Prima facie, it appears that the truck driver smeared the number plate with grease after passing through the toll plaza,” Rae Bareli Superintendent of Police Sushil Kumar Singh told The Times of India.

The truck delivered a sand delivery consignment at a construction material outlet at Sohrab in Rajghat area about 30 km away before heading for Fatehpur. “The driver might have put grease on the plate while returning to Fatehpur,” Singh said. “The driver and cleaner have already been arrested. Now, the case is with Central Bureau of Investigation, they will uncover the truth.”

A “collection manager” at a Kanpur branch of a lending firm, meanwhile, questioned the truck owner’s claims and said he had been repaying his loan on time, The Telegraph reported. “We financed three of Devendra Kishore’s trucks,” said the collection manager on condition of anonymity. “He recently completed repaying the entire loan for one of them and has been paying the EMIs for the remaining two on time.”

The families of both the truck owner and MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is accused of raping the complainant, are from Fatehpur district. Devendra Singh’s business partner and elder brother Nand Kishore told the newspaper that he was a district secretary of the Samajwadi Party till 2011. Sengar was a legislator of the Opposition party from 2007 to 2017.

The car crash and case

On Friday, the Central Bureau of Investigation said it had formed a 20-member additional special team to look into the car crash. The investigating agency’s spokesperson said six top experts from the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratorriesy had already reached the crime scene to conduct inqui.

The complainant’s lawyer and two aunts were travelling with her when the collision occurred. While the 19-year-old woman’s aunts were killed, her lawyer is on ventilator support along with her at a hospital in Lucknow. The woman’s family has accused Sengar and his aides of plotting the crash.

The Supreme Court on Thursday transferred five cases related to the complainant to a court in Delhi, which will have to hear cases on a daily basis and complete proceedings within 45 days. The court also ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to complete its inquiry into the car crash within a fortnight. However, the top court halted its earlier order to transfer the car crash case to Delhi on Friday after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the case cannot be transferred since the investigation was pending.