The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday (December 4) granted bail to the 23-year-old law student from Shahjahanpur who was arrested by an SIT on September 25 on charges of trying to extort ₹5 crore from BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand, whom she had accused of rape.
Justice SD Singh, while granting the bail, observed the investigation into the case was already complete and the police had filed a charge sheet. He said no reasonable apprehension had been cited by the state that her release on bail will delay the trial. Hence, there is no need to detain her further, the court added.
Chinmayanand, whose trust runs the Shahjahanpur law college where the woman studied, was arrested under section 376-C of the IPC and continues to be in judicial custody. He filed a counter-complaint alleging the law student and three boys were trying to extort ₹5 crore from him, following which the student was booked.
The former union minister alleged they had threatened to make public video clips that showed him getting massages from the student. Allowing the student’s bail application, Justice SD Singh observed the police had already completed the investigation and filed a charge sheet.
During the bail hearing, the woman’s counsel argued she is a victim of sexual harassment and claimed that all allegations against her are fabricated. The counsel alleged the student was raped by Chinmayanand over a long period of time. Chinmayanand’s lawyer opposed the bail application and said the student had used a spy camera for recording the video clips.
The BJP leader was arrested on September 20 by a special investigation team (SIT), formed by Uttar Pradesh Police following directions from the Supreme Court. He was booked under section 376-C, a charge short of rape. It is applied when someone in authority takes advantage of his official position and induces or seduces a woman to have sex with him.
Apart from the rape allegation, the 23-year-old student said she was often called for giving massages to Chinmayanand, and used a concealed camera to record video clips as evidence. But Chinmayanand said the clips were recorded to blackmail him. She and her friends had asked him to shell out ₹5 crore, he alleged.
Last month, the woman was taken from the jail in Shahjahanpur to Bareilly so she could take an exam at a college there. She was given admission at the Bareilly college on the Supreme Court’s directions so that she could continue her education.
(With inputs from agencies)