Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ashish Singh Ashu expressed his support for rape-accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar on Friday.

Kuldeep Singh bhai could not be here among us today as he is going through difficult times,” Ashu said, NDTV reported. “Out best wishes are with him. We hope that he will overcome the bad times, fight through it and come out of it and be with all of you. Wherever we are, our best wishes are with him.” The MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi constituency was speaking at a panchayat event near Unnao district, which is also Sengar’s home.

Sengar was arrested on April 13, 2018, after a teenager accused him of raping her in June 2017, when she visited his home to ask for a job. The complainant had accused the police of not taking any action when she approached them after the alleged incident.

On Thursday, the Bharatiya Janata Party expelled Sengar, days after the complainant in the rape case was critically injured in a car crash. A truck had collided with the car in which she was travelling on the highway. The 19-year-old and her lawyer were critically injured, while two of her aunts died in the collision. Though the court had appointed a security detail for the teenager, the personnel were not with her in the car. Moreover, the truck’s number plate had been blackened out.

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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.

The rape case

In April 2018, the complainant and her mother, attempted to immolate themselves outside Chief Minister Adityanath’s home in Lucknow. The very next day, the teenager’s father died in police custody, allegedly after being beaten up by Sengar’s brother. Sengar was also accused of framing the girl’s father in a false case in order to get him into police custody.

Ten days later, a witness in the death of the complainant’s father died. The state administration claimed that he died due to an illness. But his relatives alleged foul play and demanded an autopsy – which was not done.

Sengar was booked in a case of criminal conspiracy after the Central Bureau of Investigation took over the inquiry in May 2018, but the complainant’s family claimed there has not been much progress.