The 23-year-old Shahjahanpur law student who was found by the police in Rajasthan this morning will have to be produced in the SC in national capital Delhi before the police take her home. The postgraduate law student had gone missing after accusing Bharatiya Janata Party leader Swami Chinmayanand (72), of harassment.
Her family had expressed concerns about her safety and accused the police of trying to pressurise them to tone down the complaint in which the senior BJP leader was named. In a widely-circulated video, the woman accused “a big leader of the saint society” of threatening her and “destroying the lives of several girls”. She didn’t name Chinmayanand in this video. Her father, who filed a police complaint, however, accused the BJP leader who has a sprawling ashram in Shahjahanpur and runs several colleges in the eastern UP town.
The SC decided to take cognizance of the case on its own and hours before the judges were to hear the case, UP police announced that the woman, missing for six days, had been found in Rajasthan.
A bench led by Justice R Banumathi ordered the UP police to produce her in the top court after a group of lawyers expressed concern about her safety. “We don’t know if the girl is safe,” lawyer Shobha Gupta told the bench after the Uttar Pradesh government told the bench that the law student had been found in Rajasthan and was the way to Shahjahanpur.
“We direct the learned counsel appearing for Uttar Pradesh to produce the girl along with the police team,” Justice Banumathi ordered after the state government told the court that the law student had reached Fatehpur Sikri. The bench said it will interact with the woman in their chambers and then hold an open court hearing in the matter.
The UP government counsel was keen that the court include in it’s judicial order that the girl is in the company of a friend. This submission was objected to by the women lawyers after which the judge refused to record the state’s submission in it’s order. SC said we will not record anything of this sort in the order.
The video with the girl’s message was posted on social media on August 23 and the girl had been missing since August 24.
Her father said her hostel room was found locked when he made inquiries after her daughter’s video message went viral. “She called me up from an unknown number, probably of Delhi on August 24 and told me that she was fine and disconnected the phone,” he said, adding that when his wife called the number it was answered by a hotel employee who told her that she had come in a white car.
Her mother had told reporters: “My daughter came home on Raksha Bandhan. I asked her why her phone remained switched off so frequently. She said, ‘If my phone goes off for a longer duration then understand that I am in trouble. My phone will go off only when it is not in my hands’. My girl was going through a lot of pain and trouble but did not divulge much. She told me she was being sent to Nainital by her college administration.”
The Shahjahanpur police had sealed the girl’s room at the SS Law College and constituted teams to trace her.
The politician, who faced similar accusations in 2011 and was booked for raping a woman who stayed at Chinmayanand ashram, disputed the charge.