Charges against Chinmayanand watered down; booked for ‘misusing authority''

LUCKNOW: After dragging its feet for days the SIT on Friday finally arrested three-time BJP MP and union home minister in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government, Swami Chinmayanand. He has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

Charges against Chinmayanand watered down; booked for ‘misusing authority''

Swami Chinmayanand. File photo

monicakchauhan@gmail.com

Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service
Lucknow, September 20

After dragging its feet for days the SIT on Friday finally arrested three-time BJP MP and union home minister in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government, Swami Chinmayanand. He has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

However, instead of pressing charging of rape (Section 375) the SIT has registered a case on watered down charges of "misusing authority for sexual intercourse" or "sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape", which has a punishment of not more than five years of jail.  

Punishment for rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code carries a jail sentence of at least seven years, but may extend to 10 years or even a life term.   

On the other hand, three men known to the woman were also arrested in an extortion case filed by Chinmayanand's team. The woman has not been charged but the police claim she is also involved in the case.

According to the police the charges against Chinmayanand were lodged on the basis of the videos handed over by the complainant, which she had secretly filmed with the help of a secret camera in her spectacles.

SIT head IG Naveen Arora confirmed that the 73-year-old Chinmayanand accepted the genuineness of the videos and admitted his guilt saying that he was ashamed of his actions.

The complainant however, protested against his arrest under watered down charges saying that she had unequivocally pressed charges of rape against him. She also denied anything to do with the additional related cases of exhortation.

Refusing to admit any delay in the arrest of the BJP leader IG Arora said that due to Chinmayanad being in and out of hospital his arrest could not take place earlier.

The SIT team led by Inspector General Arora and accompanied by a posse of around 50 police arrived at the rape accused Swami’s Shahjahanpur Ashram. To prevent any resistance the SIT had taken a large number of police personnel with them.

Picking him up from his ashram the SIT tam reached the Kotwali police station. From there Chinmayanand has been sent to hospital for medical examination. He would be thoroughly examined here before being presented before the court later in the day.

The law student from Swami Shukdevanand Post Graduate College had complained Chinmayanand raping and sexually exploiting her for a year. He is the president of the college where she was studying.

The law student hit headlines on August 24 when she disappeared after posting a video on the social media about an influential person sexually exploiting her.

In the video she had not named anyone. But the missing person complaint filed by her father mentioned Swami Chinmayanand.

On the basis of the father’s complaint the Uttar Pradesh police booked Chinmayanand on charges of kidnapping on August 27. Finally, on August 30 she was traced in Rajasthan.

After this on the directions of the Supreme Court the Uttar Pradesh government constituted a SIT headed by IG Naveen Arora.

The Supreme Court had also ordered the transfer of the student and her brother to other law colleges saying it was important for their future.

However, despite the complainant recording her statement in court under Section 164 Cr Pc on September 16, the police did not arrest the rape accused, who complaining of chest pain has been in and out of hospital from that day onwards.

Finally the police arrested him when the complainant threatened to commit suicide if she did not get justice.

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