Shahjahanpur: BJP leader and former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand, who was accused of raping a student, has been arrested by a special investigation team (SIT) of the Uttar Pradesh Police, which was probing the case. Chinmayanand was sent to a district jail, where he will be lodged for 14 days.
Chinmayanand, who has been a three-time MP, was arrested from his Mumukshu Ashram in Shahjahanpur, an education complex housing five schools and colleges.
He was taken for medical examination to a government hospital, following which he was taken to the the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate.
As Chinmayanand was taken for a medical check-up, patients at the government hospital had to face a tough time as they were not allowed to enter the premises.
Chinmayanand’s arrest comes days after the woman, an LLM student from the Swami Sukhdevanandaw College, levelled the allegations of rape against him. She had submitted 43 videos to the SIT as “evidence”.
Complaining of no action being taken against the BJP leader, she had also threatened to commit suicide.
Chinmayanand’s lawyer Pooja Singh told PTI that the SIT took signatures of his relatives on the arrest memo but no arrest-related documents, including a copy of the FIR, were given to them.
Allegations of sexual harassment against Chinmayanand first emerged on August 24, when the woman released a video pleading with Chief Minister Yogi Aadityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save her life from the “manager” of her college, who was also a “saint”.
She subsequently went missing for six days, and was found by the UP Police in Rajasthan. She was taken to the Supreme Court, which had taken a suo motu interest in the case, where she had a closed-door discussion with a bench led by Justice R Banumathi.
It was only after she was brought back to Shahjahanpur that she alleged at a press conference on 9 September that Chinmayanand had raped her over the course of one year at the ashram where she was studying and working as a librarian.
“Swami Chinmayanand raped me and even exploited me physically for one year,” she alleged, having appeared before the media with her face covered with a black scarf.
She later handed over the evidence to the Supreme Court appointed SIT.
A history of sexual abuse
Chinmayanand’s arrest comes after he repeatedly denied the charges of sexual abuse and rape by the young woman.
This isn’t, however, the first time Chinmayanand has been accused of this crime. In 2011, a disciple from his ashram in Haridwar accused him of rape and abduction over 11 years. In 2018, the Yogi Adityanath government tried to withdraw the case despite the woman’s protest, but this motion was denied by a district court. The case has been stuck in the Allahabad High Court since 2018.
(With inputs from ANI)