Synopsis: The Apex court set aside the order of the Allahabad High Court to allow Chinmayanand have access to the statement of the complainant.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court refused to allow former Bharatiya Janata Party MP Chinmayanand to access a copy of the 23-year-old woman’s statement filed against him in a sexual harassment case.
The bench of Justices UU Lalit, Vineet Saran and S Ravindra Bhat set aside the order of the Allahabad High Court to let Chinmayanand have the declaration that the woman gave to the mmagistrate, under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The Supreme Court also observed that the statement of a complainant must ideally be reported within 24 hours before a woman magistrate.
The Apex Court imposed a stay on the High Court’s order. The complainant had claimed that, before filing the chargesheet, granting Chinmayanand access to her statement was against the law and would have a far-reaching impact on the case. On November 6, 2019, the chargesheet was filed.
Chimayanand was released on February 5 from Shahjahanpur prison in Uttar Pradesh, two days after he was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court.
The case was a matter of “quid pro quo”in his bail order, Allahabad High Court Justice Rahul Chaturvedi said, and stated that the action of the woman was stunning and she had tried to blackmail him for ransom. He added that the inventiveness of the prosecution tale was emphasised by a girl whose virginity is at stake, not uttering a single word to her own parent or before the court.
In December, the complainant and three of her friends obtained bail from the High Court in an extortion case filed on the basis of a complaint from Chinmayanand. The former BJP chief was reportedly blackmailed by her for Rs. 5 crore.
The 23-year-old complainant, a law student, went missing in August last year, soon after uploading a video detailing her ordeal. Even though she did not mention anybody, her father named Chinmayanand for his daughter being missing. Police then booked Chinmayanand on charges of abduction and watered down charges of sexual harassment, but not rape.
The woman was discovered later that month in Rajasthan, and was brought in the Supreme Court. The law student said she had around 35 videos that can expose the former leader of the BJP.