Swami Chinmayanand (File Photo)
Shahjahanpur: The Uttar Pradesh police has lodged an FIR against former Union minister and BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand, officials said.
Shahjahanpur Superintendent of Police S. Chanappa said Chinmayanand was booked late Tuesday night under IPC Sections 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) and 506 (criminal intimidation) based on a complaint by man, who accused the former minister of state for Home of having sexually harassed his daughter.
According to the police, the girl, a law student at Swami Shukdevanand Postgraduate College in Shahjahanpur, had on August 23 posted a video clip on the social media alleging that Chinmayanand, the director of her college, was threatening to kill her and her family as she had evidences that could land him in trouble.
In the video, the girl had accused the BJP leader of "destroying the lives of several girls" and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for help. She went missing the following day.
"Our team is investigating and the girl's father has been provided security," the SP said on Wednesday. He said the video will be probed by senior officers, and action will be taken against those guilty.
Her father later filed a written complaint against Chinmayanand, accusing him of sexually harassing his daughter.
When contacted, Chinmayanand's lawyer Om Singh claimed that the leader was being blackmailed and had received a WhatsApp message demanding Rs 5 crore. He said an FIR was lodged over this on August 25.
The lawyer also dismissed the charges made by the woman and her father. "There is not an iota of truth in their claims," he said.
Elaborating on the sequence of events, he said: "On August 22, Swami Chinmayanand got a WhatsApp message on his phone from an unknown number. The message said that if you do not give Rs 5 crore by this evening, then I will make videos viral on news channels. And do not try to act smart, as I have nothing to lose, but your reputation will be lost. Hence, make arrangements to give Rs 5 crore."
Chinmayanand sent the screenshot to him, and he then took it to SP Shahjahanpur. "An FIR was also registered at in Shahjahanpur's Kotwali police station early on August 25," said the lawyer.
"It was registered around 2.25 a.m. on August 25 after the video of the girl went viral on August 24. Initially, I thought a big racket was involved. But after seeing the girl and the video, I felt that the WhatsApp threat and the video could be related, as a direct threat was made (to us)," he claimed.
Chinmayanand is a three-time Lok Sabha MP and was a minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In 2011, he was accused of rape by an inmate of his ashram.