The Chinmayanand case in Uttar Pradesh has taken a new, and perhaps ugly, turn. The SIT formed under the instructions of the Supreme Court has arrested the law student who had accused Chinmayanand of raping her. She has been charged with trying to extort Rs 5cr from the accused. This has put the impartiality of the UP police in serious doubt. The father and the brother of the girl have already been alleging that they are being pressurized to drop the case against the former Union minister. Now, with the SIT arresting the victim, the pressure is more pronounced.
Initially, when the girl made the allegations on August 24, the police did not act. Then, based on a request by some lawyers, the Supreme Court took sou motu cognizance of the incident and set the wheels of justice in motion. The SIT was formed and investigations began. The UP police suffered a negative blow to its image by not acting on a complaint that was under its provenance.
Then, despite the girl insisting that Chinmayanand raped her over a period of one year, the police booked him for lesser charges of "sexual intercourse not amounting to rape" and "misusing authority for sexual intercourse". That was an illegal act on part of the UP police as it is not for them to decide the charge but to apply the charge the victim says. The courts will decide what actually happened.
The police have told the Supreme Court that there is no evidence of money actually being paid to the girl. They have based their charges against the girl on a Whats App message allegedly received by the accused demanding Rs 5cr for hushing up the matter, which the police converted into an FIR. The police have also arrested three friends of the girl who the police said were planning the extortion.
With the twists and turns the case has undergone, if the UP police are not able to prove the charge against the girl and her friends, it will be proved that they are acting to protect Chinmayanand. In any case, even if the girl is found guilty of blackmail and extortion, the serious charges of rape against Chinmayanand will still stand. It is now upon the Supreme Court to ensure that the UP police act fairly and without prejudice to complete the investigations and bring the guilty to book.