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Court admits Shahjahanpur student's interim bail plea

Court admits Shahjahanpur students interim bail plea

Shahjahanpur (UP): In a relief for the law student who has accused BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand of rape and herself faces an extortion charge, a local court Tuesday admitted her interim bail application.

The court has fixed Thursday for a hearing on her plea, which seeks protection from arrest for allegedly trying to extort money from the former Union minister.

"Additional District Judge Sudhir Kumar has admitted our bail application, and summoned all records related to the case on the next date of hearing on September 26," her counsel Anoop Trivedi told reporters here.

"It is a big relief for us as our plea has been admitted," he said.

The counsel rejected reports that the woman was intercepted by the special investigation team (SIT) probing the case while she was on her way to the sessions court in connection with her bail application.

"The SIT was present only to extend security to the woman. No arrest has been made so far and all reports in this regard are far from the truth," he said.

The woman was made to sit in a police jeep, triggering speculation that she had been arrested. But she was later escorted by the police to her residence. Chinmayanand was arrested on Friday in connection with charges levelled by the 23-year-old woman who studies at a college run by his ashram.

The police had also arrested three other men for allegedly trying to extort money from the BJP leader -- and booked the student on the same charge.

On Monday, the Allahabad High Court refused to grant interim bail to the student and directed her to file a fresh petition before an appropriate bench.

"This bench was nominated to the case only for monitoring the investigation in this matter and has no jurisdiction to pass order on stay of arrest," it said.

Chinmayanand, sent to judicial custody after his arrest, was booked under section 376C of the IPC, which is usually applied in cases where a person abuses his position to "induce or seduce" a woman under his charge to have "sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape".

This is a lesser charge than section 376, under which a rape convict faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. The punishment under section 376C is between five and 10 years in jail.

The 72-year-old was also booked under sections 354 D (stalking), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

The woman had claimed that the police were trying to weaken the case against the ruling party politician.

The High Court on Monday expressed satisfaction with the progress report submitted by the special investigation team probing the case.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate's court here has already rejected the bail applications filed by Chinmayanand and the three men arrested on the extortion charge, saying they should move the sessions court.

The SIT on Tuesday obtained the remand of Sachin Sengar and Vikram --- two of three men arrested in the extortion case -- for 95 hours, to help them trace the mobile phone in the alleged extortion bid.

The police have sent the mobile phone of Chinmayanand's counsel Om Singh, on which the message allegedly demanding money was allegedly received, for forensic examination, sources said.

The student has alleged she was raped and physically exploited for over a year.

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