Shahjahanpur/Lucknow: A district court on Monday rejected the bail pleas of BJP leader Swami Chinmayanand and the law student who has accused him of rape. Also on Monday, the Lucknow Hospital where the former Union minister spent the past week discharged the politician, sending him back to Shahjahanpur jail.
Chinmayanand and the law student were sent to 14-day-judicial custody after being arrested in cases now running parallel.
Hours before the Shahjahanpur court rejected the two bail pleas, Congress workers held a public meeting in the town, ahead of a planned march to state capital Lucknow in support of the student.
The police, however, promulgated prohibitory orders, arresting about 80 Congress workers and thwarting the nyay yatra their planned 180-km march for justice. They were later released on personal bond, police said.
Chinmayanand has been booked under section 376C, a charge short of rape, on the basis of the complaint filed by the 23-year-old woman who studies at a college run by his ashram.
The woman herself was charged with extortion, following a complaint by the politician's lawyer that she and three others had demanded Rs 5 crore from the leader. "District judge Rambabu Sharma heard the bail application of Swami Chinmayanand, and also the bail plea of the girl in an extortion case. The court dismissed both the bail applications," government counsel Anuj Kumar Singh told PTI.
Chinmayanand's advocate Om Singh said, "Following the rejection of the bail plea, an appeal will be filed in the Allahabad High Court."
Earlier, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra criticised the arrest of party workers who had turned out in support of the student. "The BJP government of UP is standing with the one committing atrocities on daughters and is taking protesting Congressmen into custody," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
The Congress claimed there were several arrests in other areas of Uttar Pradesh too as police tried to stop the Congress march from Shahjahanpur. Former Union minister Jitin Prasada was stopped from leaving his Shahjahanpur home for the march and placed under house arrest, the party said.
Shahjahanpur district's border borders were blocked from all sides, the opposition party added on its official Twitter handle. Superintendent of Police (City) Dinesh Tripathi said Congress workers were holding a meeting in front of the party office in Shahjahanpur at a time when prohibitory orders were in force and 80 of them have been arrested.
"They had not taken any permission from the administration. After arrest, they have been taken to Police Lines," he said. In the evening, he said the party workers were released on personal bonds.
UP Congress legislature party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu and national secretary Dheeraj Gurjar were among those arrested, police said. The Congress said its members will now hold meetings in all district headquarters in the state on Tuesday to protest over this.
Shahjahanpur District Congress president Kaushal Mishra claimed he and former Union minister Jitin Prasada were placed under house arrest. "SDM (sub-divisional magistrate) Sadar and CO (circle officer) City told me that I and Jitin Prasada have been put under house arrest. When they were asked why a heavy police force was deployed outside Prasada's residence, we were told that no one will be taking out any padyatra," Mishra told PTI.
Prasada spoke out on Twitter. "UP is no Kashmir yet today I am in preventive custody for simply wanting to highlight the plight of the Shahjahanpur rape victim. This BJP govt has no qualms in quashing an individual's fundamental rights," he tweeted.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that criminals in UP have the protection of the government so that they can intimidate the rape victim.
"The UP BJP government wants to suppress the voice seeking justice for the daughter of Shahjahanpur. The padyatra is being stopped. Our workers and leaders are being arrested. What is there to be afraid of?" the Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh said in a tweet in Hindi.
Chinmayanand was admitted at Lucknow's state-run Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences on September 23, three days after his arrest. Doctors there conducted an angiography test that cleared him of any cardiac problem. But he was monitored for his diabetes and urinary problems.