A number of interesting turns have taken place in the Chinmayanand case from the beginning. On 28th August 2019, Chinmayanand was booked under Section 364 (Kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) and Section 506 (Criminal Intimidation) because of a complaint that was filed by the victim’s father following her disappearance after she had accused Chinmayanand of physically exploiting her. Curiously, now the accuser has also been arrested in an extortion case.
On 23rd August, a 23 year old law student of Shahjahanpur’s Swami Shukdev Anand Post Graduate College, in a viral video posted on her Facebook profile, hinted that Chinmayanand, a former BJP Union Minster who now serves as the President of the managing committee of the same institution and also runs a number of ashrams, using his power and position was exploiting her and pleaded the Prime Minister and the State’s Chief Minister to take action. In the video, she said “A big leader of the Sant Samaj who has destroyed the lives of many other girls and also has threatened to kill me… I want to request Yogi ji and Modi ji to help me. He has threatened to kill my family. Please help me.” A day later, the girl went missing and a complaint against Chinmayanand was filed by her father for kidnapping and sexually exploiting his daughter.
Chinmayanand, however maintained that he was being framed and it was nothing but a conspiracy against him to extort money and to malign Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s government. His lawyer claimed that Chinmayanand was being threatened through WhatsApp messages in which he was asked to pay five crore rupees. Meanwhile, the complainant’s father said that he was under pressure to withdraw the case.
On 23rd August, a 23 year old law student of Shahjahanpur’s Swami Shukdev Anand Post Graduate College, in a viral video posted on her Facebook profile, hinted that Chinmayanand, a former BJP Union Minster was exploiting her and pleaded the Prime Minister and the State’s Chief Minister to take action.
On 30th August, the law student was found in Rajasthan. The Police, however, claimed that she was never kidnapped but was with other three boys with whom she had planned this extortion from the former minister. Sensing similarities between Chinmayanand’s case and the Unnao rape case, some Supreme Court lawyers filed a plea in the court and a closed door meeting was organised of the Supreme Court judges and the law student.
On 2nd September, the Supreme Court formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to inquire into the case. Five days later, the girl filed a rape case against Chinmayanand and asserted that she was physically exploited by him for about a year. She claimed that she had tried filing a case before as well but the Police had dismissed her accusations. She informed the police that it all started when she was filmed while taking a shower and was repeatedly blackmailed. She told the police that she had ample evidence as she had filmed Chinmayanand with the help of a spy camera. On 12th September, Chinmayanand was questioned by the SIT, and the two rooms of the ashram, where the alleged rape took place, were sealed. On 14th September, she handed the police 43 videos as proof. In the meantime, other videos surfaced. In one of the videos, the girl was seen massaging Chinmayanand and in another video one could hear extortion talks. These videos, however, were not forensically examined.
When no action against the former minister was taken, the student threatened the authorities and said, “Will you act against Chinmayanand once I kill myself?” In no time after the threat, Chinmayanand was admitted to a hospital. Finally on 20th September, Chinmayanand was arrested but instead of being charged with rape which results in a punishment of about 7 years to life imprisonment, he was charged with “misusing authority for sexual intercourse” or “sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape”, which results in a punishment of 5 to 10 years at most. Following his arrest, he admitted to almost all the charges against him. A 14 day judicial custody was ordered. On 23rd September, he was again admitted to a hospital in Lucknow.
When no action against the former minister was taken, the student threatened the authorities and said, “Will you act against Chinmayanand once I kill myself?”
Meanwhile, the law student’s friends’ actions were also monitored. When her friends were questioned with regard to the clip in which she was discussing the extortion plan, they admitted to blackmailing and demanding money from Chinmayanand to prevent them from posting his naked pictures online. The student’s lawyer claimed that it was an attempt to shift attention. The girl then moved to Allahabad High Court asking for interim protection from arrest in the extortion case, which she was denied.
On 24th September, her interim bail plea was admitted by a court and she was questioned for about 3 hours at her home by the SIT. However, three other men who were involved were denied bail and two of the three accused, Vikram and Sachin Sengar, were kept in remand in order to get hold of the phone which was used in blackmailing Chinmayanand. The mobile phone on which the messages were sent was also sent for forensic examination.
Finally on 25th September at 09:15 am, the girl was arrested as there were “enough digital and forensic evidence” against her. The student admitted that it was her and her friends’ voices in the videos where plans for extorting money were being discussed. As of now the accuser’s bail plea stands rejected and her next hearing is scheduled for 30th September. Chinmayanand continues to be in hospital and his bail plea will also be heard on the same day.
Featured Image Source: Hindustan