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Court admits law student's interim bail plea, Chinmayanand still in hospital

twitter-logoPTI | September 24, 2019 | Updated 22:11 IST

(Eds: Merges related stories, adds details) Shahjahanpur (UP), Sep 24 (PTI) A local court here on Tuesday admitted the interim bail plea filed by the law student who has accused BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand of rape and herself faces an extortion charge. The court has fixed Thursday for hearing her plea, which seeks protection from arrest for allegedly trying to extort money from the former Union minister. "Additional District Judge Sudhir Kumar has admitted our bail application, and summoned all records related to the case on the next date of hearing on September 26," her counsel Anoop Trivedi told reporters here. "It is a big relief for us as our plea has been admitted," he said. The 23-year-old woman, however, faced questioning later by the special investigation team (SIT) that was set up by the Uttar Pradesh police under the directions of the Supreme Court. Chinmayanand’s own bail application was Monday rejected by Shahjahanpur chief judicial magistrate, who said it should be moved in the sessions court, according to his counsel Om Singh. The 72-year-old politician was arrested in Shahjahanpur on Friday and remanded to judicial custody for 14 days. On Monday, he was admitted at Lucknow’s Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, complaining of chest pain, and remains there under observation. The CJM’s court had also rejected the bail application of three men who were arrested on extortion charges filed by the BJP leader. The law student was also booked under the same charge. On Tuesday, the student’s counsel rejected reports that she was intercepted by SIT members she was on her way to the sessions court in connection with her interim bail application. "The SIT was present only to extend security to the woman. No arrest has been made so far and all reports in this regard are far from the truth," he said. The woman was escorted home where SIT members quizzed her for nearly three hours, police sources said. They said the police team that dropped her home had seven members, including two women. On Monday, the Allahabad High Court had refused to grant interim bail to the student and directed her to file a fresh petition before an appropriate bench. "This bench was nominated to the case only for monitoring the investigation in this matter and has no jurisdiction to pass order on stay of arrest," it said. The SIT has obtained the remand of Sachin Sengar and Vikram --- two of three men arrested in the extortion case -- for 95 hours, to help trace the mobile phone used in the alleged extortion bid. The police have also sent the mobile phone of Chinmayanand’s counsel Om Singh, on which the message demanding money was allegedly received, for forensic examination, sources said. Meanwhile, doctors said Chinmayanad’s medical condition has improved. "Swami Chinmayanand is admitted at MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit) Ward of SGPGI under Prof PK Goel, HoD, Cardiology. His blood pressure and other parameters are normal. He is still under observation," Chief Medical Superintendent Amit Agarwal said in a bulletin on Tuesday. "There has been improvement in the condition of Chinmayanand. His blood sugar is also normal. He had lunch and is also talking. If his health is fine, he may possibly be discharged within a couple of days," it added. Chinmayanand, sent to judicial custody after his arrest, was booked under section 376C of the IPC, which is usually applied in cases where a person abuses his position to "induce or seduce" a woman under his charge to have "sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape". This is a lesser charge than section 376, under which a rape convict faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment. The punishment under section 376C is between five and 10 years in jail. He was also booked under sections 354 D (stalking), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. The woman had claimed that the police were trying to weaken the case against the ruling party politician. The High Court on Monday expressed satisfaction with the progress report submitted by the special investigation team probing the case. The student has alleged she was raped and physically exploited for over a year. PTI CORR SAB NAV ASH ASH

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