Analysis: Swami Chinmayanand’s case

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Swami Chinmayanand, a former Union minister and one of BJP’s leader from Uttar Pradesh, has been accused of sexually harassing a girl belonging to Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.  On August 23 2019, the girl posted a video on social media, in which she alleged that Swami Chinmayanad was threatening her and her family and she had evidence that could get him into trouble. She is a law student, pursuing her post-graduation from S. S College, Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where Swami Chinmayanand is the Director.

On August 24 2019, she went missing from her hostel. Her father lodged a complaint against Chinmayanand that he was sexually harassing his daughter and had abducted her. Regarding his complaint, an FIR was filed by the police for the offences of kidnapping and criminal intimidation under Section 364 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Later on, Chinmayanand’s lawyer filed a counter-report, alleging that a ransom of ₹5 crore was asked from his client a day before that video went viral. He said, all this was done to harm Chinmayanand’s reputation and were pure lies. Since the girl was missing and it being a high-profile matter, the Supreme Court took suo moto cognizance as lawyers raised concerns reflecting on the recent ‘Unnao case’. The case was dealt with by a dual bench of Justices Banumathi and Bopanna.

The Supreme Court also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to form a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to properly investigate the matter and submit it’s report. The SIT looked into the details of the case. It first looked into the report of the local police then spoke to the parents of the girl, went to her college, spoke to her teachers and students there and next went to Chimayanand’s residence as a part of their investigation.

 Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh police was looking for the missing girl who was later found in Rajasthan with her friend on 30 August 2019. The police immediately tweeted that the girl was found, she was safe and had not been abducted. They reported that she had went out of her own will and all the necessary legal actions will be taken regarding the case.

The girl was then presented in the Supreme court, where she said that she had left because she was scared. The judges personally interacted with the girl and further directed that the girl will remain in Delhi till she meets her parents and decides how she wants to proceed with the case.

On 4 September 2019, the Supreme Couts disposed the earlier initiated suo moto proceeding with further directions. Before this, the Supreme Court had already directed the Uttar Pradesh government to transfer the girl into another University so that she can safely pursue her degree of post-graduation.

The bench said that the suo moto proceedings were only taken up because she was missing. Now that she is present there was no need for the suo moto proceedings. The girl can directly approach the SIT and give her statement on which action would be taken. Currently, the matter has been transferred to Allahabad High Court, which will monitor this case and the investigation. The girl can approach the Allahabad High Court for any security-related concerns in the future.

Recently, the girl lodged a complaint of rape against Swami Chinmayanand with the Delhi police Special Cell on 9 September 2019. She said that she has told every detail to the SIT and also tried to complain to them but the Shahjahanpur Police Station did not lodge her complaint. Hence, she filed the complaint in Delhi, which the Delhi police has transferred to the Shahjahanpur Police Station.

She said that she has been raped by Swami Chinmayanand and had been physically exploited for an year. Her allegations are based on the electronic evidence from her hostel where she used to stay. But they are sealed. She demands that the seal should be broken in the presence of media persons so that the truth prevails. The case is taking many twists and turns with every passing day and it’s hard to find who is telling the truth and who is not. Until the Apex Court gives further directions and concrete evidence is presented, it is hard to tell what this case will lead to.

-This article is brought to you in collaboration with Sheetal Dhyani from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi.

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