Swami Chinmayanand: India ex-minister arrested in sexual abuse case

A former Indian federal minister from the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been arrested in connection with allegations of sexual abuse.

Swami Chinmayanand, 73, has been charged with "misusing authority" for sex - a lesser offence than rape - as well as stalking, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

He denies all of the charges.

The woman, who was a student at one of several colleges run by him, alleges that the abuse lasted for months.

If found guilty, Mr Chinmayanand, a former lawmaker from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, faces up to 10 years in jail. He had served as a minister in the BJP government under former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

The woman said she first met Mr Chinmayanand in June last year when she enrolled at a law college run by him. She alleged that he showed her a video of her bathing and blackmailed her to have sex with him.

She posted a video on Facebook on 24 August detailing the alleged abuse. The allegations made national headlines as she went missing for six days, prompting her father to blame Mr Chinmayanand.

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The Supreme Court intervened and asked the police to find her. She gave her statement in the court on 2 September, after which a special investigation unit was formed.

Last week the 23-year-old and her father alleged that the police had been reluctant to arrest Mr Chinmayanand and she threatened to set herself on fire. She recorded her statement in a local court amid heavy security on 16 September.

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