The Allahabad High Court (AHC) in the Indian city of Prayagraj, formerly known as Allahabad, on Monday granted bail to former minister and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Swami Chinmayanand in the rape case of a law student, Hindustan Times reported.
The woman was a student of the Chinmayanand-controlled Swami Shukdevanand Law College in Uttar Pradesh state. She had come forward in September last year and accused the BJP leader of raping and exploiting her for over a year.
Chinmayanand was subsequently booked under Sections 376C (sexual intercourse by a person or persons taking advantage of their official position), 354 D (stalking), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
The case is being investigated by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed on the directions of the Indian Supreme Court. Almost a month after being accused of sexual misconduct, Chinmanayand was arrested in Shahjahanpur on Sept 20 last year.
Five days after his arrest, the BJP had said in September last year that Chinmayanand was no longer with the party.
The SIT had, on November 6, submitted charge sheets in two cases – one against former Union minister and the other against the woman law student who accused him of rape and sexual harassment as she was herself accused by the former minister of extortion.
The woman was, however, given bail in the extortion case in December last year.
The woman went missing on August 24, a day after she posted a video on social media, alleging that “a senior leader of the saint community” was harassing and threatening to kill her. Following this, the woman’s father lodged a complaint, accusing Chinmayanand of harassing his daughter.