New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday granted bail to a 23-year-old law student who has levelled sexual harassment allegations against BJP leader and former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand.
The law student from Uttar Pradesh, who was arrested for extortion and blackmail after she accused the former minister of rape, was given bail after spending two months in jail.
The student was arrested by the Special Investigation Team in the extortion case in September.
The woman was studying in Chinmayanand's Swami Shukdevanand Law College in Shahjahanpur.
The woman had alleged that Chinmayanand, who runs several ashrams and educational institutions, had sexually exploited her after helping her with admission into his law college last year.
The case went public when the student vanished on August 24 after putting up a Facebook post without naming the politician. Chinmayanand's team then filed an extortion case.
When the Uttar Pradesh Police tracked the student down after a week, the Supreme Court heard her allegations and ordered a SIT probe into the matter.
The BJP leader has been charged under a law that deals with rape but a sub-section has been applied in his case, which deals with 'misusing authority for sexual intercourse'.
The reading of the section suggests a watered-down charge which carries a punishment of five to ten years in jail and a fine.
A direct rape charge would have meant a seven-year jail term extending to a life term. He has also been charged with stalking, criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement. Chinmayanand is lodged in Shahjahanpur jail.