UP student who accused Chinmayanand of rape sent to jail in extortion case

Shahjahanpur (UP): The 23-year-old student who accused BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand of rape was arrested on Wednesday on charges of extortion and sent to 14 days judicial custody, police said.

She was arrested around 9.15 am from her home by the Special Investigation Team of the Uttar Pradesh Police amid massive deployment of forces, sources said. Roads leading to the residence of the student were blocked from both sides before policemen entered the house to arrest her, they said. She was then taken for a medical examination. After that she was produced before the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Vineet Kumar, which sent her to 14 days judicial custody, officials said.

Three other accused in the extortion case -- Sanjay, Sandip and Vikram -- were arrested by the SIT on Friday, the day Chinmayanand was arrested. Anoop Trivedi, the student's counsel, said he has moved a bail application, which will be heard later in the day. The student's father and brother said she has not committed any crime but still she has been arrested. Her father also alleged that a police official was taking "a very soft stand" on the complaint against Chinmayanand.

The student has alleged she was raped and physically exploited for over a year by Chinmayanand. Chinmayanand's own bail application was rejected on Monday by Shahjahanpur Chief Judicial Magistrate, who said it should be moved in the sessions court, according to his counsel Om Singh. Chinmayanand is currently at Lucknow's Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences after complaining of chest pain.

The CJM's court had also rejected the bail application of three men who were arrested on extortion charges filed by the BJP leader. On Monday, the Allahabad High Court had refused to grant interim bail to the student and directed her to file a fresh petition before an appropriate bench. "This bench was nominated to the case only for monitoring the investigation in this matter and has no jurisdiction to pass order on stay of arrest," it said.

The SIT has obtained the remand of Sachin Sengar and Vikram --- two of three men arrested in the extortion case -- for 95 hours, to help trace the mobile phone used in the alleged extortion bid. The police have also sent the mobile phone of Chinmayanand's counsel Om Singh, on which the message demanding money was allegedly received, for forensic examination, sources have said.

Chinmayanand, sent to judicial custody after his arrest, was booked under section 376C of the IPC, which is usually applied in cases where a person abuses his position to "induce or seduce" a woman under his charge to have "sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape". This is a lesser charge than section 376, under which a rape convict faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. The punishment under section 376C is between five and 10 years in jail.

He was also booked under sections 354 D (stalking), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. The student has claimed that the police were trying to weaken the case against the ruling party politician. The High Court on Monday expressed satisfaction with the progress report submitted by the special investigation team.

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