The Special Investigation Team investigating cases of sexual harassment and extortion involving Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party leader Chinmayanand has been accused of torturing the family of the 23-year-old law student who filed the complaint against the politician, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The complainant is in jail at present along with three others for allegedly trying to blackmail Chinmayanand and attempting to extort Rs 5 crore from him.
In a letter dated November 2, and addressed to the registrar general of Supreme Court and Allahabad High Court, the complainant’s mother claimed that the SIT summoned her for questioning on November 1 along with her husband and son. When they visited the investigators’ office in Shahjahanpur, investigators allegedly threatened to implicate them in the extortion case, and asked the family to avoid making statements to the media. “A woman police officer, during questioning, assaulted me while another officer threatened to implicate us also in the case,” added the law student’s mother.
The family has named SIT chief Naveen Arora and a few other officials in the letter, Hindustan Times reported. However, Arora denied the allegation. “There is no question of harassing them because they are not accused in the case,” he added.
All India Democratic Women Association and other women’s organisations have submitted a letter to the governor about the matter, according to Hindustan Times. “I have met the family,” said AIDWA state President Madhu Garg. “They are not willing to stay in Shahjahanpur due to fear of local police.”
On Tuesday, the law student’s brother had filed an affidavit in the High Court, seeking strong action against the SIT officers for allegedly harassing, assaulting and threatening his family. He has urged the court to set up a new investigation team.
The investigators on Wednesday filed chargesheets in the two cases in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Om Vir Singh in Shahjahanpur. The police submitted 79 pieces of evidence and claimed they had cross-examined 105 people.
After the accusations against Chinmayanand came to light in August, he was initially booked on watered down charges but not rape. A rape charge carries a term of seven years extending to life. In the chargesheet, Chinmayanand faces charges under Indian Penal Code sections 376 C (sexual intercourse by a person in authority), 354 D (stalking), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation). Section 376 C carries a punishment of five to 10 years.
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