New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday claimed that former Union Minister Chinmayanand, who has been accused by a 23-year-old law student from Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, of raping and blackmailing her, is not a member of the party.

Speaking to news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), Harish Srivastava, the party’s UP spokesperson said, “He is not a member of the party.” The spokesperson, however, did not say since when has Chinmayanand not been a member of the BJP.

The development comes on a day when his accuser was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing the case, for allegedly trying to extort money from the politician. Later in the day, a court denied the student’s bail plea. She has been charged with extortion, criminal intimidation and ‘disappearance of evidence.’

The 72-year-old, who was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was arrested by the SIT last week and sent t0 14-day judicial custody. The SIT action came amid allegations that it was going ‘soft’ on the powerful politician. Later, the probe team also claimed that Chinmayanand has confessed to almost every allegation levelled against him by the law student.

The team also quoted Chinmayanand as saying that he was ‘ashamed of his act.’

In her complaint, the student has accused the former BJP MP of repeatedly raping and ‘physically exploiting’ her for well over a year.

This is the second such case involving a BJP leader to have been reported from Uttar Pradesh in recent days, after the Unnao case.