No arrests in Chinmayanand case after SIT questions 30
At least 30 people, including former Union minister Chinmayanand and the 23-year-old law student who accused him of rape, have been interrogated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) since September 8, but no arrest has been made in the case yet, said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity on Thursday.
Three FIRs have been lodged in the case but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader has not been charged with rape, prompting the woman to allege that the SIT was dragging its feet. The probe team has denied the accusation and said any arrest will be made on the basis of proper evidence.
On Thursday, the SIT called five people, including classmates of the woman, for questioning. The SIT summoned records relating to the appointment of the complainant’s mother at a college run by Mumukshu Ashram of the BJP leader. The student’s mother was allegedly appointed a teacher at the college in May this year.
The SIT is currently questioning people in connection with the case and will submit its report to the Allahabad high court on September 23.
Three FIRs have been lodged —two in Shahjahanpur and a third (zero FIR) in New Delhi. The zero FIR (which can be lodged at any police station regardless of the place of incidence or jurisdiction) was transferred to the SIT.
The woman had gone missing on August 24, a day after she posted a video on social media alleging that a “senior leader of the seer community” was harassing and threatening to kill her. She did not name Chinmayanand in the video. The Supreme Court took cognizance of the matter and directed the state government to form an SIT to probe the matter.
The woman was found by police in Rajasthan after being missing for nearly a week.
The interrogations began on September 8, the day after the woman returned to Uttar Pradesh from Delhi. The woman, her father, mother and brother were quizzed by SIT officials inside the auditorium of Shahjahanpur police lines. On the first day, the woman and her father were quizzed for over 11 hours. Since then the SIT quizzed the woman on five different occasions till date, said a second police officer.
Chinmayanand was questioned for eight hours on September 12. According to Om Singh, the lawyer of Chinmayanand, he has been interrogated twice by the SIT.
“Swami Chinmayanand and I have appeared before the SIT for interrogation regarding the matter. Some employees of colleges run by Chinamayanand’s trust have also been quizzed by them,” Singh said. The BJP leader has denied the allegations and said he is the victim of a political conspiracy.
The first FIR in the matter was lodged on August 25 by Om Singh on behalf of Chinmayanand in connection with extortion and threats. On August 27, police booked Chinmayanand under Sections 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code based on the complaint of the woman father.
The SIT began investigation of these two cases initially. However on September 7, the woman lodged a complaint of rape at a police station in New Delhi after which a zero FIR was registered and transferred to the SIT.
“I have submitted proof and given statement to the SIT stating that I was raped by Chinmayanand. I have also said the same in detail before the magistrate, yet he (the former minister) has not been arrested,” said the woman, who along with her parents, reached Prayagraj on Wednesday. The woman recorded her statement before the magistrate on September 16. She was earlier taken for medical examination.
Meanwhile, Chinmayanand was discharged from the Shahjahanpur district hospital where he was admitted on Wednesday after complaining of stomach ache.
Hospital administration said the BJP leader was referred to the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow, but Chinmayanand returned to his ashram in Shahjahanpur.