Express News Service
LUCKNOW: The Shajahanpur sexual harassment case involving Swami Chinamayanand took another turn when the victim told the court that she had made the charges of sexual harassment under coercion from anti-social elements who “are enemies of the former Union minister”.
The woman appeared before the court of special judge (MP/MLA court) Pawan Kumar Rai on Friday.
The law student who made allegations of sexual harassment against Swami Chinmayanand in 2019 withdrew them last month after almost a year. “I had levelled charges of sexual harassment (on Swami Chinmayanand) under pressure from anti-social elements. These statements are not true. At the time of
recording these statements, I was not in a position to oppose those elements,” said the victim, according to assistant government advocate and prosecution lawyer Abhay Tripathi.
As per Tripathi, the law student, who had been pursuing a course from Swami Sukhdevanand Law College run by Mumukshu Ashram of Swami Chinamayanand, claimed while clarifying the reason for withdrawing the allegation against the former Union minister in the court that she recorded the statements against Chimanayanand before the judicial magistrate (Shahjahanpur) under SIT (Special Investigation Team)
These statements before the judicial magistrate were recorded under Sections 161 (relating to examination of a witness) and 164 (relating to recording of statements and confessions) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The law student informed the court that her statement was not read out to her and neither was her signature taken on all pages that carried her statement. She said no video recording was done when she was giving the statement before the judicial magistrate, according to the prosecution lawyer.
The court has now posted the matter for the next hearing on January 11.
It may be recalled that the Uttar Pradesh government, on September 1 last year, had constituted an SIT to probe the charges levelled against Chinmayanand by the law student of SS Law College. The probe was instituted on the Supreme Court’s orders. The student had levelled the charges of rape and sexual harassment against the former Union minister on August 24 by making a post on Facebook and releasing a video on social media while going into hiding herself along with one of her friends.
The former minister is president of the managing committee of the college where the woman studied law.
The SIT lodged an FIR against the former minister under Section 376-C of the IPC, an offence pertaining to the abuse of one’s position by a person in authority to “induce or seduce” a woman under his charge to have “sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape”.
The student had recorded her statements before the judicial magistrate, Shahjahanpur, on September 16, 2019. She withdrew all allegations of sexual harassment against Chinmayanand on October 13 this year.
The former Union minister was arrested in connection with the case in September 2019. However, he secured bail in the case from the Allahabad high court in February this year.
However, in the meantime, the law student was booked in a case of extortion along with three of her acquaintances, wherein she was accused of demanding Rs 5 crore from Chinmayanand or else she would implicate him in a case of sexual harassment.
The law student was arrested and sent to jail along with her friends in September last year. Currently, she is out on bail in the extortion case. Meanwhile, when the law student changed her stance and withdrew the charges levelled against Chinmayanand, the prosecution moved an application in court seeking action against her for perjury or lying before the court.