The law student who had gone missing after levelling charges of sexual harassment against former Union minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand will now be produced in Supreme Court on Friday, media reports said. She was recovered earlier in the day in Rajasthan, after reportedly being missing since 24 August.
The apex court judges will interact with the 23-year-old in chambers first, in order to maintain her privacy. The decision, however, will be announced in open court.
The Shahjahanpur police had on Tuesday lodged an FIR against Chinmayanand after the student went missing following her allegation in a video clip that he had been harassing her. Following which, a group of lawyer had approached the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of the case to prevent the recurrence of another 'Unnao-like incident' where the rape survivor's family has suffered repeated setbacks, some tagged as misfortunes while others were undeniably the misuse of law by the powerful accused MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
The court took note of the matter and was scheduled a hearing for Friday afternoon, however, the Uttar Pradesh Police managed to trace down the girl, the same day before the hearing could begin. The police has claimed that the girl was in Rajasthan without any coercion, and was accompanied by a male friend, Sanjay. More details regarding the circumstances of her disappearance and her whereabouts during the duration for which she was deemed missing by her family, are unknown.
The boy, who accompanied the girl, will also be produced here along with the girl," they said.
Following this, the petitioners-led by lawyer Shobha Gupta, pleaded the court to amend the petition to demand that the girl is produced in court on Friday itself, to ensure she is safe.
The woman's father alleged that she has gone missing at the behest of the 72-year-old BJP leader, who heads Mumukshu Ashram. She is a post-graduate student in one of the colleges run by the Ashram.
In the video she posted online, the student alleged she has "evidence" that the three-time Lok Sabha member, who was a minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, had harassed and threatened to kill her.
She had not named Chinmayanand in the video but said "a senior leader of the sant community”. The politician, who faced similar accusations in 2011 and was booked for raping a woman who stayed at his ashram, has disputed the charge.
Chinmayanand has claimed that a conspiracy was being hatched against him by four men and the missing woman and that he was innocent. “It is an attempt to malign the image of the Yogi Adityanath government. I am being falsely framed just like Kuldeep Singh Sengar (rape accused Unnao MLA now in jail),” he had told News18.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 30, 2019 14:49:36 IST