Following a Supreme Court order, the Uttar Pradesh police Tuesday formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe charges levelled by a law student from Shahjahanpur against former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand.
The SIT will be headed by an officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police and will look into two cross FIRs filed in the case.
The development comes on the back of a Supreme Court directive Monday to the state government to constitute an SIT to “address the grievances” raised by the law student who had gone missing last month from her college in Shahjahanpur, alleging harassment by the college authorities. She was subsequently found in Rajasthan.
After she went missing, her father had accused former BJP MP Swami Chinmayanand, head of the law college’s management, of harassing her and other students. Acting on his complaint, the police had booked Chinmayanand on charges of abduction and intimidation — charges the former minister denied.
Meanwhile, Shahjahanpur Police began investigation into the reported extortion message demanding Rs 5 crore sent to Chinmayanand on August 22, and brought the youth — who is the prime suspect for sending the extortion threat — from Delhi. The youth was accompanying the girl when police found her in a hotel in Rajasthan.
On August 22, Shahjahanpur-based advocate Om Singh lodged a police complaint stating that a threat message has been received on a cellphone (belonging to Chinmayanand). The caller demanded Rs 5 crore and threatened to malign his image if his demand was not fulfilled. The sender also claimed to have a video which he threatened to circulate.
Additional Solicitor General Vikranjit Banerjee, appearing for the State of UP, had informed the apex court that besides the FIR registered on her father’s complaint, the institution has registered a cross-FIR. The bench clarified that the SIT will take note of both FIRs and proceed with the investigation.
The court had also asked the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court to constitute a bench to monitor the investigation.
A local police team, which had gone to Chinmayanand’s Haridwar ashram to question him in connection with the allegations, did not find him there, police said here on Tuesday. “A team had gone to Haridwar to probe the charges…. It has returned on Monday as Chinmayanand was not found in his ashram there,” PTI quoted Superintendent of Police, City, Dinesh Tripathi as saying.
The court, which had taken suo motu cognizance of the matter, said this was only for the purpose of ensuring that the woman’s education is not disturbed.