Former Union Minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand
Former Union Minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand

Shahjahanpur: A local police team, which had gone to former Union minister and BJP leader Chinmayanand's Haridwar ashram to question him in connection with harassment allegations levelled by a woman law student, did not find him there, police said here on Tuesday.

"A team had gone to Haridwar to probe the charges.... It has returned on Monday as Chinmayanand was not found in his ashram there," Superintendent of Police, City, Dinesh Tripathi said.

He said that the family members of the woman are in New Delhi, but security is deployed outside their house here. The father of the woman told PTI over phone from Delhi that when they reached the national capital to meet their daughter, she appeared "frightened" and broke down after meeting her mother.

"We have assured her that the administration and court are with us and no one could harm us. She said that she wanted to return home but due to fear left for Rajasthan. She has all the proof against Chinmayanand and she has kept them in safe place," he said.

The woman, who is a student at a college run by Chinmayanand's trust, was missing since August 24, a day after she posted a video on social media alleging that a "senior leader of the sant community" was harassing and threatening to kill her. She did not name Chinmayanand in the video.

Her father had filed a complaint with police accusing Chinmayanand of sexually harassing her, a charge refuted by the BJP leader's lawyer who claimed it was a "conspiracy" to blackmail him. She was found in Rajasthan on August 30 by UP police.

The Shahjahanpur police has booked Chinmayanand on charges related to abduction for murder and criminal intimidation on the complaint of the girl's father.

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to set up an SIT, headed by an IG-rank officer, to investigate the charges of the woman as well as two related FIRs, and said that an Allahabad High Court bench will monitor the probe.

After interacting in-chamber with the woman and her parents, a bench of justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna had issued a slew of directions, including asking the state to provide police protection to her parents and family members and explore the possibility of admitting the woman and her brother in another college at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.

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Free Press Journal