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Chinmayanand: India woman who accused former minister of abuse arrested

Swami Chinmayanand

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A woman who accused a former Indian federal minister of sexual abuse has been arrested over allegations of extortion, police told the BBC.

She allegedly threatened to release “obscene” videos of Swami Chinmayanand if he did not pay her money, they said.

Mr Chinmayanand was arrested last week in connection with the allegations of sexual abuse, which he has denied.

The woman appeared in court on Wednesday and was jailed for 14 days after her bail application was refused.

She and her family have denied the charges against her. Three friends of hers, who are also accused of extortion, were arrested last week.

Mr Chinmayanand is a 73-year-old former lawmaker who represented India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

He served as a federal minister under former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Local police had registered a case of extortion against the woman and her friends on 24 August, Mr Chinmayanand’s lawyer, Om Singh, told BBC Hindi’s Samiratmaj Mishra.

“Mr Chinmayanand received a text on his mobile phone demanding 50 million rupees ($700,000; £564,000), or they would make obscene videos of him publicly available. But we knew that there was nothing like this,” Mr Singh said.

It’s unclear what videos the alleged text refers to, but his accuser has told local media that she recorded her encounters with Mr Chinmayanand through a camera hidden in her glasses – she also said she has handed over 43 such videos to investigators who are looking into her allegations of sexual abuse.

The case has since been transferred to a special team investigating the allegations against both parties.

The woman, who was a student at one of several colleges run by the politician, alleges that the abuse lasted for months. She claims that he showed her a video of her bathing and blackmailed her into having sex with him.

Mr Chinmayanand has denied the allegations but was subsequently charged with “misusing authority” for sex – a lesser offence than rape – as well as stalking, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

If found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in jail.

Chinmayanand: India woman who accused former minister of abuse arrested}

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