Former BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand, arrested and put behind bars in connection with the alleged sexual harassment of a UP law student in September last year, was granted bail today by the Allahabad High Court.

The 73-year-old politician was arrested after a complaint by the 23-year-old law student of the Swami Shukdevanand Law College student, which is run by the former union minister’s trust in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur. She had accused Chinmayanand of blackmail and rape by posting a video message on the social media on August 23, 2019.

The next day she went missing and was later traced to Rajasthan on August 30. The law student had appeared before the press two weeks back alleging that she was raped and exploited for over a year by the BJP leader. She even threatened to end her life if Chinmayanand was not arrested. She said that it had been over 15 days since she recorded her statement but the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had not yet arrested the accused.She had given a pen drive containing 43 videos to the SIT to support her allegations after the sleuths asked her to submit whatever evidence she had against former Union Minister Swami Chinmayanand.

The BJP leader has not been charged with rape but “misusing authority for sexual intercourse” or “sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape” as well as with stalking, criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement. During an interrogation by the SIT on Friday, he has admitted to the sexual harassment. He had confessed to having called the law student for “massages”and said that he was ashamed of his act.

The SIT on September 25, 2019 had also arrested the Shahjahanpur rape survivor for allegedly trying to extort Rs 5 crore from Chinmayanand along with her accomplice. She was released on bail in December, two months later.

According to SIT chief, Inspector General of Police Naveen Arora, they had sufficient evidence that Rs 5 crore in extortion money had been demanded from Chinmayanand. Those arrested have admitted that they had sent messages on WhatsApp to Chinmayanand on the directions of the law student.

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, the BJP leader allegedly forced her to have an abortion.