Former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand, who was accused of rape by a law student of his college, is no longer a member of the party, BJP spokesperson Harishchandra Srivastava said on Wednesday (September 25).
The spokesperson, however, did not mention since when Chinmayanand has ceased to be the member of the BJP. “All our records are now digitised, so we cannot tell from when he has not been a member of the party,” he said.
The Uttar Pradesh police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) arrested Chinmayanand last Friday on charges of “misusing authority for sexual intercourse”.
SIT has denied allegations that they are reluctant to press stronger charges on the powerful politician, who appears to be on good terms with the BJP leaders. The 72-year-old leader has been charged under the rape law, but under a sub-section on “misusing authority for sexual intercourse”, which is less severe than a rape charge.
The charges under the sub-section would bring about a punishment of five to 10 years in jail and a fine. Under a defined rape charge, he would’ve had to face a seven-year jail term extending to a life term.
The SIT said that Chinmayanand admitted to most of the allegations after being confronted with videos reportedly taken by the woman secretly, using a camera in her glasses. These videos apparently showed him getting massages from the law student in the nude.
Chinmayanand was a minister of state for home affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led BJP government. He won the general elections from Badaun in 1991 and from Machhlishahr in 1998.
After the controversy erupted, no BJP leader has come forward to extend any kind of support to Swami Chinmayanand, who has been in judicial custody since Friday (September 20). Even the Akhara Parishad, the prominent body of seers, is set to take a decision on the expulsion of Swami Chinmayanand from the body at its meeting in Haridwar on October 10.
Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP) president Narendra Giri told PTI, “In most cases like this, the seer is expelled from the Akhara Parishad until he is proven innocent.” Giri added that the 72-year-old Swami Chinmayanand belonged to the Prayagraj-based Mahanirvani Akhara.
Last year, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered withdrawal of a rape and kidnapping case lodged against Chinmayanand by a disciple and manager of Mumukshu Ashram run by him.
However, the chief judicial magistrate, district court, Shahjahanpur, had stalled the withdrawal proceedings after objections from the victim. The manager of the Mumukshu Ashram had filed an FIR against Chinmayanand on November 30, 2011, alleging that she was held captive, raped and assaulted for several years.
(With inputs from agencies)