A special court in Lucknow acquitted former union minister Swami Chinmayanand today in a rape case that was filed against him by a law student. An LL.M. student studying at SS Law College run by Mumukshu Ashram of Chinmayanand in Shahjahanpur had accused Swami Chinmayanand under sections 354D, 342, 376C and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.
Special Judge PK Rai said, while pronouncing the verdict today, that the prosecution could not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and that the victim had already turned hostile by withdrawing charges against Chinmayanand during the trial of the case. The verdict was reportedly pronounced in the presence of all the accused including Chinmayanand.
Moreover, the girl along with her acquaintances has also been acquitted by the court in relation to the charges of extortion and blackmailing leveled by Chinmayanand. The BJP leader had alleged that the girl and her friend had demanded money from him to withdraw the rape case.
The court acquitted both the parties as all the witnesses along with the ‘victims’ had turned hostile.
Background of the case
An FIR was lodged by the girl’s father against Chinmayanand in Kotwali police station, Shahjahanpur on August 27, 2019. He had stated in the FIR that the mobile phone of the girl, who was pursuing LL.M. and was staying in the college hostel, was switched off from August 23, 2019. He had alleged that when he checked his daughter’s Facebook profile, he found that she was being threatened for life by Chinmayanand and his associates as he had been sexually exploiting her. He had expressed apprehension that something untoward might had happened to her daughter. The father had said that he was not able to reach Chinmayanand as his phone was also switched off.
The girl was later traced by UP police to Jaipur where she was staying in a hotel with a friend of hers. It was found that she had moved to Jaipur on her own will, and she was not abducted by Chinmayanand as alleged by her father. The Supreme Court issued directives to the state government to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) after the girl moved the court. The court further directed the investigation to be monitored by the Allahabad High Court. Swami Chinmayanand was arrested by police on September 20, 2019 and jailed. The charge sheet in the case was filed on November 4, 2019.
Chinmayanand had accused the girl and her acquaintances of demanding money from him
An FIR was lodged by Chinmayanand’s lawyer on August 25, 2019 against the girl and her three acquaintances alleging that they had blackmailed Chinmayanand and demanded Rs 5 crore from him. The girl along with co-accused named Sanjai Singh, DPS Rathore, Vikram Singh, Sachin Singh and Ajeet Singh were arrested and sent to jail. The charge sheet against them was filed on November 4, 2019 under sections 385, 506, 507 and 201 of the IPC and sections 3 and 4 of the IT Act.
The girl later withdrew all the charges levelled by her against Chinmayanand saying that she was forced to level these charges under the pressure of certain persons at Shahjahanpur.