Millennium Post

BJP's Chinmayanand arrested; three others charged with extortion

BJPs Chinmayanand arrested; three others charged with extortion

Shahjahanpur: BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand, accused of rape by a law student, was on Friday arrested and sent to 14 days' judicial custody, and has apparently told the police he was sorry for his behaviour.

But the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case also arrested three other men - all charged with trying to extort money from the former Union minister and named an unidentified woman as a suspect in the same case.

It was also not entirely clear if Chinmayanand had apologised for the alleged rape, or for getting the woman to massage him, which was recorded on video - and shown to him during the investigation.

The charges against him were also unclear. While Uttar Pradesh police chief O P Singh said, Chinmayanand was arrested in connection with rape, a press note issued by the SIT probing the case mentioned a lesser charge.

Instead of section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, which refers to rape, the SIT statement listed section 376C, which relates to coercive sexual intercourse by a person in authority.

The section is usually applied in cases where a person abuses his position to induce a woman under his charge to have sex with him. The student studied at a college run by the 72-year-old leader's ashram.

If proved, a rape charge can lead to a punishment of up to life imprisonment. Someone convicted under section 376C can be jailed for between five and ten years.

Hours after the arrest, the student indicated that she is not satisfied with the charges under which Chinmayanand was arrested. It is an attempt to weaken the case against him; she told reporters. The case is being investigated by an SIT formed by the Uttar Pradesh police on the directions of the Supreme Court. SIT chief Inspector General Naveen Arora said the video clipping of the accuser being made to massage Chinmayananda was also shown to him.

"When you have come to know everything, I have nothing to say. I accept my crime, and I am very sorry for this act," the BJP leader was quoted as saying, according to the SIT chief.

MPOST BUREAU

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