Former Union Minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand, accused of sexual misconduct by a law student, has been questioned by the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) for probing the case. The interrogation which lasted for around seven hours, was conducted late on Thursday night.
The police haven’t filed a rape case against the politician yet. A special bench of the Allahabad High Court is monitoring the SIT probe.
The SIT interrogated the BJP leader at the reserve police lines here in Uttar Pradesh. Chinmayanand was accompanied by his lawyer Om Singh.
Earlier on Thursday, SIT had recorded the statement of SS Law College Principal Sanjay Kumar Baranwal and Secretary Avanish Misra.
According to SIT sources, summon had been sent to Chinmayanand for questioning but the former Minister did not appear citing health reasons. He was reportedly interrogated on the allegations leveled by the law student of a college he runs, as well as on a video clip showing him getting a massage by a girl.
“We are fully cooperating with the investigation, we may have to appear again,” said Chinmayanand’s lawyer.
The 72-year-old BJP leader reportedly denied the allegations and claimed that he was being asked for money by some boys and when he refused to pay, they hatched the conspiracy against him.
The 23-year-old postgraduate student has alleged that she was raped repeatedly and “physically exploited” for a year by the BJP leader, whose organization runs several colleges in Shahjahanpur.
The law student and her father on Thursday claimed that some evidence has gone missing from the girl’s hostel room.
“My daughter had safely kept the evidence against the accused in her hostel room which was later sealed on court orders. When the Special Investigation Team (SIT) opened the seal on Sept 9, some of the evidence was missing from the room,” he claimed on Thursday.
Her father alleged that they removed from the room a pair of spectacles with a camera fitted in them, suggesting that this contained evidence against the BJP leader.
“My daughter had recorded evidence against the accused in hidden cameras fitted in two spectacles. Both are missing. The room was sealed two days after we made a request in this regard. My daughter’s friend has also given evidence in a pen drive to the investigating officers,” he said.
The woman also alleged that they planted some things there to tarnish her image.
The Supreme Court, which heard the girl in a closed hearing, had last week directed the Uttar Pradesh government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into the allegations made against Swami Chinmayanand.
The Supreme Court took up the matter after a group of lawyers wrote to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
On August 24, the student had posted a video on Facebook in which she alleged the former Union Minister had exploited many girls, including her. She also claimed to possess proof against Swami Chinmayanand. The girl student, then went and was later traced to Rajasthan on August 30.
The UP Police has, meanwhile, lodged an FIR against Chinmayanand under IPC Sections 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) and 506 (criminal intimidation) based on a complaint by the father of the girl who accused the former minister of state for Home of having sexually harassed his daughter and kidnapping her.
Chinmayanand is a three-time Lok Sabha MP and was a minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In 2011, he was accused of rape by an inmate of his ashram. When she got pregnant, Chinmayanand allegedly forced her to have an abortion.