New Delhi: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Swami Chinmayanand, who was arrested in connection with the alleged sexual harassment of a UP law student, was sent to 14 day judicial custody by a local court. He was arrested the Special Investigation Team (SIT) earlier this morning from Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur.

Notably, the Uttar Pradesh government, on direction of the Supreme Court, had set up the SIT under Inspector General of Police (Public Grievance) Naveen Arora. Arora was assisted by Bharti Singh, IPS, commandant of the 41st PAC Battalion, Ghaziabad. Earlier the SIT had handed over the videos and other items to the forensic team, so that it could explain and prove things to the monitoring bench of the High Court on September 23.

The law student had alleged that she was raped repeatedly and “physically exploited” for a year by the BJP leader, whose organization runs several colleges in Shahjahanpur. She had claimed that the BJP leader filmed her while she was in the bath. Calling Chinmayanand as a “blackmailer”, the girl in her statement had said,”He first filmed me while I was bathing with the help of his trustworthy aide and then started sexually exploiting me on the basis of that video.”

The 23-year-old law student from SS Law College in Shahjahanpur had gone missing after posting a video on Facebook, alleged sexual harassment by a “big leader of the Sant Samaj” who had allegedly “destroyed the lives of many other girls and has also threatened to kill me”. Through the video, she had sought help from Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the matter. Though the woman had not named anyone in her video, her father gave written a complaint against Chinmayanand, who was also the director of the college management.

In 2018, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh had tried to withdraw a 2011 rape and abduction case against Chinmayanand, but a court in Shahjahanpur rejected its petition. The FIR against him was lodged on the complaint of a girl who had spent several years at his ashram. The woman, in her complaint, had alleged that she was kept confined in the Swami’s Haridwar ashram where the latter raped her over several years. The police had filed a charge-sheet in 2012. However, the former ruling party MP was never taken into custody. Chinmayanand had been a three-time BJP MP. He first won elections on a BJP ticket from Badayun (in 1991), from Machchlishahr (in 1998), and Jaunpur (1999).