"Swami Chinmayanand raped me", claims UP student who went missing
BJP leader and former Union Minister Swami Chinmayanand was on Monday accused of rape by a young woman who went missing for a week from her home in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. She was later found in Rajasthan. The woman, a student at a law college run by Chinmayanand, claims that the 72-year-old leader raped and physically exploited her for a year. Here's more.
For the uninitiated, a woman from Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur levelled harassment allegations against the BJP leader in an online post. Just a day later, she went missing. In the said post, she claimed that a "big leader of the Sant Samaj" had "destroyed lives of many other girls and also has threatened to kill me". She was tracked down in Rajasthan, one week later.
The woman, 23, says she has now filed a police complaint in Delhi. "Swami Chinmayanand raped me and even exploited me physically for one year," she alleged before the media, her face covered with black scarf. "The Delhi Police has registered this complaint at Lodhi Road police station and has forwarded it to Shahjahanpur police, which is not registering the rape case," she said.
Hours after she was found, the woman was produced before the Supreme Court, wherein she gave her account in a closed hearing. She told the judges that she had left with her college friends. Ordering a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into her allegations, the Supreme Court said she and her brother couldn't possibly study in the Chinmayanand-owned institution anymore.
The SIT formed for inquiry interrogated the woman for 11 hours on Sunday. "On Sunday, the SIT quizzed me for about 11 hours. I have told them about the rape. Even after I told them everything, they haven't arrested Chinmayanand yet," she said.
Despite all the grave allegations, Chinmayanand's lawyer has denied claims that he has been trying to avoid the police. "Swami is not running away from the case," advocate Om Singh told ANI on September 2. "He is currently engaged in spiritual activities, but will definitely appear before the Delhi Police whenever required," he added.
Born to a royal family in Avadh, Chinmayanand was elected to the 13th Lok Sabha from Jaunpur, in 1999. He served as Minister of State (MoS) for Internal Affairs in the third ministry of late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Only last year, the Adityanath government withdrew a 2011 rape case against him. He has Ashrams in Shahjahanpur, Hardwar and Rishikesh, and runs five colleges.