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Video of dubious content surfaces to defame Chinmayanand

A second video has surfaced that shows the accuser as a member of an extortion racket that is discussing their shady business inside a car; one of the gang members has admitted to seeking extortion money from Chinmayanand

Editorials

In India

New Delhi: A video of questionable content has surfaced in an apparent bid to defame BJP leader and former minister Swami Chinmayanand. The video looks dubious not because the lawyer of the accused says so, but because even the investigating police department says they have no idea about such a film or the allegation contained therein.

On Tuesday, this video surfaced where Chinmayanand is shown in what the media often refers to as a “compromising” position. The young woman, who is the plaintiff in the case against the swami-turned-politician is seen in the tape massaging him. The accuser, who is also the uploader of the video on social media, claims that the ‘incident’ dates back to 2014. The accuser claims to have been a student of the LLM course at the SS Law College.

Even as the SIT formed by the Uttar Pradesh government following a Supreme Court order is probing the matter, this video surfaced. The woman who shot the film and broadcast it claims that it was shot on 31 January 2014 using a spy camera fitted to her spectacles, which she wore for some time and then placed at a vantage point on a table near the bed to record the happenings.

Some screen grabs from the goings-on show Chinmayanand texting using his mobile phone while the woman is seen massaging his foot, arms, belly and the head. Om Singh, the lawyer of Chinmayanand, has called the video fake. Singh said that on the claimed day of the ‘incident’, the accuser was not even a student of the SS Law College.

Even SSP S Channappa who is in the team of investigators said that this video was never brought to the notice of the SIT. Nobody, he says, has filed a complaint about the alleged massage. He said that, officially, the SIT alone could give a final word on the allegation and he could say not a word beyond the fact that this tape was never submitted to the SIT.

Another aspect of the developing story casts doubt on the bona fides of the accuser. In yet another video, she comes across as a member of a gang that hatched a plot to extort Rs 5 crore in what is referred to in the Hindi heartland as “rangdari tax” (what a citizen must pay to accept the hegemonic authority of a goon active in the area). Equipped with this film, the supporters of Chinmayanand have challenged the detractors of the ruling dispensation in the state.

This second video was shot inside a moving car with the woman, who is the accuser, and some men inside the vehicle. While SSP Channappa has denied any knowledge of this video, too, it clearly shows the woman, seated in the back seat of the car, telling somebody in the front row that she had the guy seated next to her had given her a new SIM to make the extortion call. To this, the man seated next to her yells, cursing the woman for messaging to someone about this shady business. He says that the man managing the extortion racket is a big shot who should not be messed with.

Then, the three passengers and the driver in the car say that they fear if the honcho of the racket disowns them, they will be in deep trouble. Along with this video, some still images have surfaced showing the woman with the same set of men inside a restaurant.

The  had on 2 September ordered the government to set up the SIT, headed by an IG-rank officer, to investigate the charges levelled by a Shahjahanpur woman law student, who accused former Union minister and BJP leader  of . The apex court said that an Allahabad High Court bench would monitor the probe.

Accomplice in second video admits guilt

In the latest development in the case, Sanjay Singh, an accomplice of the accuser, has appeared on a television channel and admitted his group was trying to extort money from Chinmayanand. Singh appeared on Aaj Tak to say that they had indeed demanded Rs 1 crore from the politician. When Chinmayanand kept dragging his feet on the extortion money, the gang hiked the amount to Rs 5 crore and then threatened him via WhatsApp that they would release the massage video to defame him.

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