A 23-year-old law student who has accused Bharatiya Janata Party leader Chinmayanand of raping and physically exploiting her was arrested on Wednesday in connection with an extortion case filed by him, PTI reported. The Shajahanpur distrct magistrate in sent her to judicial custody for 14 days. Hours later, her bail plea was rejected.
The arrest was confirmed by Inspector General of Police Naveen Arora, who heads the Special Investigation Team looking into the extortion allegations against the woman as well as the rape charges against the BJP leader, Hindustan Times reported.
“We have enough evidence that Rs 5 crore extortion money was demanded from Chinmayanand,” Arora said, according to PTI. “Those arrested said that they sent messages to Chinmayanand on directions of the girl in panic as they were not getting money and were upset.”
Arora added that several pieces of evidence, including a pendrive and a mobile phone, were sent for forensic analysis and found that no modification was done to the videos. The team also found that the law student and the three accused in the extortion case were in contact.
The police officer said the spectacles used by the woman to film Chinmayanand were bought in March, but they were unable to find them in her hostel room. The complainant had said she wore glasses with a hidden camera when summoned to the former BJP MP’s home to give him “a massage”.
The evidence has been sent to Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Gandhinagar in Gujarat, the SIT chief said.
The woman’s family alleged that the police dragged her out of her home “almost by force”, without even slippers, NDTV reported. Her father said he was forced to sign an arrest “memo”, a document necessary for police paperwork.
She was later taken to a hospital for medical examination and then arrested.
The woman had moved a local court for protection against arrest on Tuesday but did not get immediate relief. The court will hear the plea on Thursday.
On Monday, the Shahjahanpur chief judicial magistrate had rejected the bail application of Chinmayanand, and three men associated with the law student who have been arrested in the extortion case. The court said the bail application should be moved in the sessions court. The three accused – Sanjay, Sachin and Vikram – had been arrested on Friday for allegedly sending a text message to extort Rs 5 crore and for threatening to tarnish Chinmayanand’s reputation.
The SIT on Tuesday took Sachin and Vikram on remand for 95 hours, PTI reported. They were taken to the site for recovery of a mobile phone allegedly used in making the extortion demand. SIT chief Arora had linked the rape complainant to the three men. He had alleged that the law student had been in touch with one of the accused, Sanjay Singh. More than 4,000 phone calls were made between the two this year, said the team.
The complainant and her brother have said the extortion case has been filed to weaken their sexual harassment and rape case.
The BJP leader was sent to judicial custody for 14 days on Friday. He has been charged with watered down sexual assault charges but not with rape. While a rape charge carries a term of seven years extending to life, Section 376C of the Indian Penal Code – sexual intercourse by a person in authority – comes with a punishment of five to 10 years. He has also been charged with stalking, wrongful confinement, and criminal intimidation.
Last month, the 23-year-old 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.
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