The Allahabad High Court on Monday transferred from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow the trial in the sexual abuse case against former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand while granting him bail with several conditions.
“The trial court will take up the case on priority basis, preferably on day to day basis and trial will be concluded within one year,” the court said while shifting the trial to the Lucknow district court based on the survivor’s apprehension that Chinmayanad, being a powerful person in his home town Shahjahanpur where the trial is currently taking place, could tamper with evidence and influence the proceedings.
Justice Rahul Chaturvedi issued the bail order on the plea filed by the BJP leader.
The order directed Chinmayanand to file an undertaking stating that he shall not seek any adjournment on the date fixed for evidence when the witnesses are present in court.
“In case of default of this condition, it shall be open for the trial court to treat it as abuse of liberty of bail and pass orders in accordance with law,” the order said.
Justice Chaturvedi also directed Senior Superintendent of Police, Lucknow to ensure the security and safety of the survivor, her family members and witnesses during the entire trial period by deputing an officer of the rank of Senior Sub Inspector and armed constables for their protection.
“Chinmayanand alias Krishna Pal Singh be released on bail on his executing a personal bond and furnishing two heavy sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court concerned in case with some conditions,” the court said.
On November 16, the court had reserved its order after hearing the counsels from both sides.
Chinmayanand, whose trust runs the Shahjahanpur law college where the woman studied, was arrested on September 20 under section 376-C of the IPC, a charge short of rape. It is applied when someone in authority takes advantage of his official position to “induce or seduce” a woman to have sex with him.
In a parallel case, the woman was charged with trying to extort money from Chinmayanand, whom she had accused of rape.
The high court granted her bail on December 4.
The Supreme Court had stepped in after the 23-year-old law student went missing for a few days in August last year after posting a video clip on social media, alleging sexual abuse.
A special investigation team of Uttar Pradesh Police, formed on the directions of the apex court, arrested Chinmayanand about a month later.
The SIT also arrested the student after a complaint that she and her friends had tried to extort Rs 5 crore from Chinmayanand, threatening to make public videos showing her giving massages to the former minister.
“The applicant shall remain present in person before the trial court on date fixed for (1) opening of the case, (2) framing of charge and (3) recording of statement under section 313 (power to examine accused) of CrPC. If in the opinion of the trial court absence of the applicants are deliberate or without sufficient cause, then it shall be open for the trial court to treat such default as abuse of liberty of bail and proceed against him in accordance with law,” Monday’s bail order of the HC said.
“In case, the applicant misuses the liberty of bail during trial and in order to secure his presence proclamation under section 82 (person issued bail has absconded) of CrPC may be issued and if applicant fails to appear before the court on the date fixed in such proclamation, then the trial court shall initiate proceedings against him in accordance with law under section 174-A (non-appearance in court in response to proclamation) IPC,” it said.