Shahjahanpur, UP– Former Union minister Chinmayanand, accused of sexually abusing a law student of one of his colleges, was given a salute by the NCC cadets from institutes run by him when he walked out of jail on Wednesday.
Hundreds of supporters greeted him with flowers when he stepped out of the jail.
While the cadets gave him a salute, his ashram served a special ‘prasad’ to all visitors on the occasion.
Chinmayanand, who was arrested on September 20 on charges of sexual harassment and blackmail, was granted bail by the Allahabad High court on Monday.
Om Singh, Chinmayanand’s lawyer, said that the cadets offered a salute to the former Union minister as a mark of respect when he reached his Mumukshu ashram.
Amit Singh, a nephew of Chinmayanand, said that hundreds of supporters gathered at the ashram, where they were served food prepared as ‘prasad’ for the occasion. “It is because they know that he has been framed,” the nephew said.
His lawyer Om Singh also maintained that the politician was a victim of a conspiracy.
A senior police official, however, said that Chinmayanand was an accused and should not have been given a salute. “But may be the cadets did so because he runs the colleges,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police (City) Dinesh Tripathi said: “For the security of the law student, a guard has been deployed. One gunner each was deployed for her and for her family, and they continue to be there.”
Chinmayanand’s gunner was withdrawn after his arrest.
“If there is any demand for the gunner, a committee will take a decision, and provide security to Chinmayanand,” the SP said.
While granting him bail, Justice Rahul Chaturvedi also transferred Chinmayanand’s trial from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow. This has been done in view of the victim’s apprehension that he may try to influence judicial proceedings in his home town.
Chinmayanand heads the trust that runs the Shahjahanpur law college where the woman studied.
He was arrested 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.
The law student, on the other hand was also arrested for allegedly trying to extort money from Chinmayanand, whom she had accused of rape.
She and her three friends had allegedly threatened to release video clips of him being given a massage by her under pressure.
The high court granted the woman bail in the extortion case on December 4.
The Supreme Court had taken suo moto cognisance of the case when the 23-year-old student went missing for a few days in August after posting a video clip on social media, alleging sexual abuse.