Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Union minister Chinmayanand was arrested on Friday morning from his home in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur district in connection with a rape case. He is accused of sexually harassing and raping a law student of a college in Uttar Pradesh that he heads, PTI reported. The district chief judicial magistrate sent him to jail for 14 days.
Chinmayanand’s lawyer Pooja Singh said a special investigation team of state police arrested the BJP leader from his residence amid tight security. He was then taken to a government hospital for medical examination.
Singh claimed the SIT asked Chinmayanand’s relatives to sign the arrest memo but no other arrest-related documents were given to them.
Following the arrest, SIT head Naveen Arora said the former Union minister had confessed to almost every allegation against him, “...including sexual conversations and body massage”, ANI reported. “Circumstantial evidence also being examined,” the police officer added. “He said he doesn’t want to say more as he is ashamed of his acts.”
Arora said the BJP leader admitted to the allegations after being shown videos submitted by the complainant. “For two days the swami was doing the rounds of the hospital,” said the SIT chief. “We took all precautions. When we were satisfied we could arrest him and he accepted all proof, we arrested him.”
Chinmayanand has been charged with “misusing authority for sexual intercourse” or “sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape”, NDTV reported. Sections under the Indian Penal Code related to stalking, criminal intimidation, and wrongful confinement were also slapped against the BJP leader. While a rape charge carries a seven-year jail term that can also be extended to life imprisonment, the current charge provides for five years in jail and a fine.
Meanwhile, three men associated with the law student were also arrested in an extortion case filed by Chinmayanand’s lawyer. The woman has not been charged in the case, but police officials claimed that she was also involved.
Soon after allegations against the BJP leader surfaced, his lawyer refuted them, saying that they were an extortion attempt. He also claimed that in a WhatsApp message to Chinmayanand a person had made a demand for Rs 5 crore and threatened to tarnish his reputation.
Last month, the 23-year-old student went missing soon after posting a video detailing her ordeal. Although she did not name anyone, her father named Chinmayanand in a missing-person complaint. On August 27, the police booked Chinmayanand on kidnapping charges. The woman was found in Rajasthan on August 30, and produced in the Supreme Court.
Last week, she claimed that she possessed about 35 videos that would implicate Chinmayanand. The complainant said she wore glasses with a hidden camera when summoned to the former BJP MP’s home to give him “a massage”.
On Wednesday, the law student questioned the delay in the investigation and threatened to commit suicide if Chinmayanand was not arrested immediately.
Chinmayanand was admitted to a government hospital in Shahjahanpur earlier this week after he complained of uneasiness.
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