UP student abused by Chinmayanand arrested for extortion bid

UP student abused by Chinmayanand arrested for extortion bid
File Photo

Shahjahanpur: The 23-year-old student, who accused BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand of rape, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of extortion, police sources said.

She was arrested from her house by the Special Investigation Team of the Uttar Pradesh Police around 9.15 am, the sources said.

She was then taken for medical examination, they said.

She will be produced before a court later in the day, they added.

A local court had on Tuesday accepted to hear an interim bail plea filed by the student.

The court has fixed Thursday for hearing her plea, which sought protection from arrest for allegedly trying to extort money from the former Union minister.

"It is a big relief for us as our plea has been admitted," her counsel Anoop Trivedi had told reporters after the plea was accepted for hearing.

She was also questioned on Tuesday by the special investigation team (SIT) that was set up under the directions of the Supreme Court.

The student has alleged she was raped and physically exploited for over a year by Chinmayanand, who was arrested last week and remanded to judicial custody for 14 days.

Chinmayanand's own bail application was Monday rejected by Shahjahanpur chief judicial magistrate, who said it should be moved in the sessions court, according to his counsel Om Singh.

On Monday, he was admitted at Lucknow's Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, complaining of chest pain, and remains there under observation.

The CJM's court had also rejected the bail application of three men who were arrested on extortion charges filed by the BJP leader. The law student was also booked under the same charge.

On Monday, the Allahabad High Court had refused to grant interim bail to the student and directed her to file a fresh petition before an appropriate bench.

"This bench was nominated to the case only for monitoring the investigation in this matter and has no jurisdiction to pass the order on stay of arrest," it said.

The SIT has obtained the remand of Sachin Sengar and Vikram --- two of three men arrested in the extortion case -- for 95 hours, to help trace the mobile phone used in the alleged extortion bid.

The police have also sent the mobile phone of Chinmayanand's counsel Om Singh, on which the message demanding money was allegedly received, for forensic examination, sources have said.

Chinmayanand, sent to judicial custody after his arrest, was booked under section 376C of the IPC, which is usually applied in cases where a person abuses his position to "induce or seduce" a woman under his charge to have "sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape".

This is a lesser charge than section 376, under which a rape convict faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. The punishment under section 376C is between five and 10 years in jail.

He was also booked under sections 354 D (stalking), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

The woman had claimed that the police were trying to weaken the case against the ruling party politician.

The High Court on Monday expressed satisfaction with the progress report submitted by the special investigation team probing the case.

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