Swami Chinmayanand, the 72-year-old BJP leader who was accused of rape by a 23-year-old law student, has been arrested by a special team of Uttar Pradesh police on Friday and taken to a Lucknow hospital for medical examination.
“Swami Chinmayanand was arrested around 9 am and taken for a medical examination at the district hospital. He will then be presented before a magistrate,” a senior UP police officer said on condition of anonymity. The arrest comes three days ahead of the Allahabad High Court hearing in the case. The law student and her family had alleged the police were going soft on the BJP leader. Chinmayamam was the junior home minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader hasn’t been charged with rape but extortion and threats. On 27 August, Chinmayanand was booked by the police for kidnapping or abducting in order to murder and criminal intimidation of the IPC based on the complaint of the woman’s father.
The special team set up by Uttar Pradesh police to probe the case has indicated that they haven’t come across any evidence to back up the rape charge yet.
The law student had gone missing on August 24 after posting a video on social media that alleged a “senior leader of the seer community” was harassing and threatening to kill her.
She did not name Chinmayanand in the video. Her father was the first to name Chinmayanand. The Supreme Court stepped in after media reports about her disappearance. The woman was found by police in Rajasthan a week later and produced before the Supreme Court, which ordered the Yogi Adityanath government to set up the special police team.
The top court also asked the Allahabad High Court to track the police probe.
Chinmayanand’s arrest comes after the police questioned more than 30 people over the last few days including classmates of the woman.
The interrogations had started on September 8, a day after the woman returned to Uttar Pradesh. The woman, her father, mother and brother were quizzed by SIT officials inside the auditorium of Shahjahanpur police lines.
On the first day, the woman and her father were quizzed for over 11 hours. Since then the SIT quizzed the woman on five different occasions till date, said a second police officer.
Chinmayanand was questioned for eight hours on September 12. His lawyer Om Singh says they had been interrogated by the special investigation team twice.
Some employees of colleges run by Chinamayanand’s trust have also been quizzed by them,” Singh said.
Chinmayanand has denied the allegations right from the beginning and said that he is a victim of political conspiracy.