New Delhi: Minutes after the Uttar Pradesh police claimed that the missing Shahjahanpur girl has been found, the Supreme Court on Friday questioned the authenticity of the report.
The student was in the evening presented in court after it asked the state government to apprise it on the whereabouts of the girl. The court had also asked the counsel to give a specified time period to present the girl before it.
The court was informed by the counsel appearing for the state government that she was found in Rajasthan on Friday and was being taken to Shahjahanpur to meet her parents.
After a bench of Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna asked the state's counsel to apprise it as to when the woman can be produced before the court, the lawyer said that she, along with the police team, is en route to Shahjahanpur and has reached Fatehpur Sikri.
The counsel said that if the court asks the authorities to produce the woman before it on Friday itself, she can be brought within two-and-a-half hours. After hearing the submissions, the court directed the state government to produce the woman before it during the day.
Hearing the matter, the court dictated that the girl will have an interaction with the judges in person, and it shall be confidential. "After interaction, judges to sit in the court and pass appropriate orders," the SC said.
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by a group of women lawyers about the case of the missing student who had disappeared last week after levelling charges of harassment by BJP leader and former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand. The woman also spoke about threat to her and her family's life in the video clip.
The family members of the missing woman had filed a complaint blaming Chinmayanand for their daughter’s disappearance. A case was registered against the leader on Tuesday following orders of the UP Police.
The group of lawyers, in a letter addressed to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had requested him to take suo motu action based on media reports that the student had gone missing for the past three days.
"Your lordships, we the undersigned members of the legal fraternity and practising lawyers of this court are extremely disturbed and concerned about the wellbeing of the girl concerned. We as a society cannot allow another 'Unnao case' to happen. This court has been interfering in letter petitions when it comes to protection of human rights," the letter said.
In the Unnao case in UP, a 19-year-old woman, who levelled rape allegations against MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, had suffered critical injuries in a road accident, along with her lawyer in Raebareli district in Uttar Pradesh on July 28. Her two aunts died in the incident and her family alleged that the accident was an attempt to eliminate her.
Chinmayanand has claimed that a conspiracy was being hatched against him by four men and the missing woman and that he was innocent. “It is an attempt to malign the image of the Yogi Adityanath government. I am being falsely framed just like Kuldeep Singh Sengar (rape accused Unnao MLA now in jail),” he earlier told News18.
In a video posted on Friday, the woman alleged that Chinmayanand, the director of her college, was threatening to kill her and her family members as she had evidence that could land him in trouble. She sought help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The woman has been untraceable since Saturday, a day after live-streaming the video on Facebook.
Shahjahanpur Superintendent of Police (SP) S Chanappa said Chinmayanand has been booked under IPC sections 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) and 506 (criminal intimidation) based on the girl’s father’s complaint. “Our team is investigating. The woman’s father has been provided security,” he added.
UP police on Wednesday had claimed the student was spotted at a Delhi hotel, but had left the place before officials reached there. A search is under way to trace her.
On Thursday, Kotwali police station in-charge Pravesh Singh said the woman's hostel room in Shahjahanpur was sealed on Wednesday evening to avoid trespassing and evidence tampering. Her mother had visited the hostel on August 24 after the news the student had been missing spread but she found her room locked.
Her college principal said that though classes began on August 5, she has not attended any since. He said she had begun working at a library after college hours in July 2018.