HC refuses stay on law student’s arrest, Chinmayanand shifted to hospital

The postgraduate law student, who accused BJP leader Chinmayanand of sexual harassment, had sought a stay on her arrest after the SIT booked her and arrested three men for allegedly trying to extort money from the leader.

The Allahabad High Court on Monday refused to grant relief to the Shahjahanpur student seeking a stay on her possible arrest in an extortion case filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Swami Chinmayanand, who is accused of raping her.

Chinmayanand, who was arrested on Friday, was shifted on Monday from a Shahjahanpur jail to a Lucknow hospital, where he was tested for cardiac problems.

The special investigation team (SIT) probing the case submitted a report in a sealed cover before a two-judge bench.

Expressing satisfaction with the probe so far, the bench of Justices Manoj Mishra and Manju Rani Chauhan fixed October 22 for the probe team to submit the next report. The woman was also present in the courtroom.

The postgraduate law student had sought a stay on her arrest after the SIT booked her and arrested three men for allegedly trying to extort money from Chinmayanand.

“If the victim wants any relief in this regard, she may file a fresh petition before an appropriate bench,” the high court said.

“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,” the high court said.

The woman, who studied at a college run by Chinmayanand’s ashram, has alleged that she was raped and physically exploited by the former Union minister for a over a year. She first mentioned about harassment by him in a video clip uploaded on social media last month.

The Supreme Court had on September 2 taken suo motu cognizance of the case and directed the high court to monitor the investigation. The SIT was also formed by the Uttar Pradesh government on the directions of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Chinmayanand has been admitted to the intensive care unit of the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute (SGPGI) in Lucknow, where cardiologists examined him, Jail Superintendent Rakesh Kumar said.

Hospital Chief Medical Superintendent Amit Agarwal said that angiography was done and no significant blockage was found, adding that angioplasty was not required.

The chest pain Chinmayanand suffered from was linked to his diabetes, Agarwal said.

The 72-year-old will be stabilised with medicines in four or five days and his discharge will be planned in due course of time, according to the doctor.

Doctors in Shahjahanpur had earlier referred the BJP leader to Lucknow for angiography in view of his health condition, according to jail sources.

Chinmayanand was arrested on Friday and sent to 14 days’ judicial custody. He has been booked under sections 354 D (stalking), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

Instead of Section 376 (rape), the 72-year-old has been booked under Section 376 C, 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”.

If proved, a rape charge can lead to a punishment of up to life imprisonment, while someone convicted under Section 376C can be jailed for between five and 10 years.

The woman had claimed that the police were trying to weaken the case against the ruling party politician.

The high court on Monday found that the investigation was going on in a proper way, adding that even the student had not made any allegation in her application regarding irregularities in the investigation.

The bench also did not accept a second prayer by the woman, who sought permission to record a rectified or a fresh statement under Section 164 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure as she said her earlier statement made before the magistrate was not proper.

The court observed that there was no allegation against the magistrate concerned nor any provision had been shown for recording a rectified statement of the woman.

According to the court, the only allegation made was that the woman’s signature was obtained only on the last page and not on each page of her statement.

The bench said that there was also no allegation against a woman, who was present while the student’s statement was being recorded. It added that the woman was apparently present in the chamber so that student may feel comfortable during the recording of the statement

Meanwhile, some women’s organisations in Lucknow came out in support of the law student, demanding invoking of Section 376 (2) against Chinmayanand and transfer of the case to Delhi.

Source: India Today

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