Chinmayanand case: Levelled charges under pressure from anti-social elements, says woman
A woman law student, who made an allegation of sexual harassment against Swami Chinmayanand in 2019 and withdrew it after almost a year, told a court on Friday that she had made the charges under pressure from anti-social elements who “are enemies of the former Union minister”.
The woman appeared before the court of special judge (MP/MLA court) Pawan Kumar Rai.
“Under pressure of anti-social elements, I had levelled allegations of sexual harassment (on Chinmayanand). These statements are not true. At the time of recording these statements, I was not in a position to oppose,” the law student said, according to assistant government advocate and prosecution lawyer Abhay Tripathi.
“Under pressure of SIT (Special Investigation Team), I had recorded statements before the judicial magistrate (Shahjahanpur),” the law student informed the court, according to Tripathi.
These statements before the judicial magistrate were recorded under Sections 161 (relating to examination of a witness) and 164 (relating to recording of statements and confessions) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The law student informed the court that her statement was not read out to her and neither her signatures were taken on all pages that carried her statement. She said no video recording was done when she was giving the statement before the judicial magistrate, according to the prosecution lawyer.
The court has fixed January 11 as the date of the next hearing.
On September 1 last year, the Uttar Pradesh government had constituted an SIT to probe the student’s allegations against Chinmayanand. The probe was instituted on the Supreme Court’s orders.
The student had recorded her statements before the judicial magistrate, Shahjahanpur, on September 16, 2019. She withdrew all allegations of sexual harassment against Chinmayanand on October 13 this year.
After that, the prosecution moved an application in court seeking action against her for perjury or lying before the court.
The sexual harassment case came to light in August last year when the woman, who was studying law at Swami Shukdevanand postgraduate college, Shahjahanpur, went missing from Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Later, she released videos, alleging rape and sexual harassment by the former Union minister.
The former minister is president of the managing committee the college where the woman studied law.
The SIT lodged an FIR against the former minister under Section 376-C of the IPC, an offence pertaining to the abuse of one’s position by a person in authority to “induce or seduce” a woman under his charge to have “sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape”.
The SIT also charged the woman with extortion. Chinmayanand and the law student were arrested and sent to jail in September last year. In February this year, the Allahabad high court granted bail to Chinmayanand. The woman also secured bail and is currently out of jail.
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