LUCKNOW: After spending over four months in the Shajahanpur district jail, former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand got some respite on Monday when the Allahabad High Court granted bail to him in the alleged case of sexual harassment of a law student. Chinmayanand was arrested on September 20 after a 23-year-old LLM student of the SS Law College had accused him of sexual harassment and intimidation.
SS College of Law is run by Mumukshu Ashram of Swami Chinmayanand in Shahjahanpur. While the state government has set up a three-member special investigation team (SIT) on the directives of Supreme Court of India to probe into the case against Chinmayanand, the swami was booked under Sections 376C (sexual intercourse by a person or persons taking advantage of their official position), 354 D (stalking), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Earlier, Chinmayanand had applied for parole in the High Court on the grounds of his deteriorating health condition and old age. The case had come to light after the victim posted a video on social media on August 23 last year alleging that Chinmayanand had been harassing her sexually for over a year and threatening to kill her.
The law student went missing a day later and was found in Rajasthan on August 30 with one of her friends. After the disappearance of the victim, her father lodged a complaint, accusing Chinmayanand of harassing her.
In the meantime, the BJP expelled Chinmayanand from the party following his arrest in the case. The SIT, which had been conducting the inquiry into the case under the monitoring of the High Court, submitted the charge sheet in the case on November 6.
During questioning in 2019, Chinmayanand admitted to his crime saying, "I am ashamed of my act." He did not want to give further testimony. The High Court had reserved the order on the bail application filed by Chinmayanand on November 16.
Meanwhile, in a parallel case, the victim was booked on extortion charges. The case was registered against her on the basis of the complaint filed by Chinmayanand and the video of her accepting the alleged extortion bid of Rs five crore from Chinmayanand went viral on social media. She was arrested and sent
to jail along with three of her friends – Sanjay Singh, Vikram Singh and Sachin Sengar who were charged under similar sections.
However, the victim and her three friends got bail from the Allahabad High Court in the extortion case in December last year.