Court admits Shahjahanpur law student's interim bail plea

Swami Chinmayanand.  

The Shahjahanpur law student who has accused former Union Minister Swami Chinmayanand of rape was on Tuesday granted temporary relief from arrest in an extortion case after a local court in the central Uttar Pradesh town admitted her application for anticipatory bail.

Her plea would be now heard on September 26, the student’s counsel Anup Trivedi told reporters.

The Additional District and Sessions Court directed the SIT to appear before it on the date along with its reports in the case. Mr. Trivedi stressed that arguments on the anticipatory bail could proceed as the SIT had neither considered the student's allegations of rape nor registered a fresh crime number or conducted investigation into the application forwarded to it by the Delhi police on the basis of her complaint.

"It was not possible to argue on the anticipatory bail under these circumstances," Mr. Trivedi said.

The law student had approached the district court after the Allahabad High Court on Monday denied her relief. In her petition to the HC, she had sought protection against her arrest and also prayed that she be allowed to record a fresh statement under Section 164 of CrPC, as she claimed it was not recorded in a proper and free manner.

However, a Division Bench of Justices Manoj Misra and Manju Rani Chauhan said the court had "no jurisdiction" to entertain a petition or an application for stay of arrest of the accused or the victim in the case, and asked her to move an application in an appropriate court."...the matter has been placed before us only to monitor the investigation," the court observed, listing the next hearing for October 22, on which date the Special Investigation Team would have to file a fresh affidavit of the progress in the investigation.

The student's appearance in the local court on Tuesday triggered speculation of her possible detention or arrest in the extortion case after footage of the scene showed her being escorted into a police vehicle parked outside the court.

Mr. Trivedi later dismissed the reports as "wrong" and said his client had not been issued with any notice for arrest. The police in the court was there to provide her protection, he said.

The Special Investigation Team probing the case last week charged the law student with involvement in the extortion case filed by Mr. Chinmayanand. Along with her three male friends, the law student was booked for extortion, disappearance of evidence and criminal intimidation, among other sections.

The student featured as the fourth name among the accused in the case — she was listed as “Miss A”— in a single-page press release issued by the SIT.

Three persons, allegedly directly associated with her, were arrested on charges of sending extortion messages to Mr. Chinmayanand demanding ₹5 crore from him. They were identified as Sanjay Singh, Sachin Sengar and Vikram alias Durgesh. The police said all three had confessed to making the extortion calls.

Naveen Arora, SIT chief, said they had “prima facie” found the “involvement” of the law student in the extortion case. While observing that investigation in the matter was still on, the senior officer said further action would be taken after the recovery of the mobile phones of the law student and her friend Sanjay Singh, who is the key accused in the extortion case, and other footage.

The SIT submitted its first report in the case in the HC on September 23.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 10:17:23 AM |

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