Starting with the Ram Mandir movement, Swami Chinmayanand, who is finally behind bars, went on to become the Minister of State for Home Affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and gradually built a huge empire.
An aide of Chinamayanand said that Chinmayanand comes from Tyorasi Ramaipur in Paraspur area of Gonda district. His childhood name was Krishnapal. While studying in a polytechnic, he went to Delhi to see the Republic Day parade and never returned. Staying away from his family and in oblivion for many years, he went on to become a sant and a political figure.
Chinmayanand alias Krishnapal left his house at the age of 20. He did his schooling from Tulsi Smarak Inter College, Paraspur and holds a Masters of Arts degree from Lucknow University. He runs a law college and an ashram in Shahjahanpur.
Chinmayanand came to Shahjahanpur in the 1980s, became a disciple of Swami Dharmanand and started living in his ashram. Swami Shukdevanand, the guru of Dharmanand, laid the foundation of Mumukshu ashram.
Chinmayanand participated in the Ram Mandir movement, which started in the late 80s, and began his political career by joining the Bharatiya Janata Party.
A senior member of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas Dr Ramvilas Vedanti told IANS, "Chinmayanand participated in the Ram Mandir movement from 1988-1990. He used to visit Ayodhya. Almost all the sants, even from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, joined the movement."
A BJP leader on the condition of anonymity said that during the Ram Mandir movement, Chinmayanand along with Mahant Avaidyanath (guru of Yogi Adityanath) formed a Ram Mandir Mukti Yagya Samiti. Other sants like Ramvilas Vedanti and Ramchandra Paramhans also joined the movement afterwards.
Chinmayanand took a resolution on the Ram Janmabhoomi movement on the banks of the Saryu river on October 7, 1984. He became the convener of the Ram Janmabhoomi Andoloan Sangarsh Samiti on January 19, 1986.
It is said that during the 80s, Chinmayanand started managing the ashram and other institutions affiliated to the ashram after Swami Dharmanand. He started a trust, Mumukshu Shiksha Sankul, in Shahjahanpur which ran various educational institutes, from public schools to post graduate colleges.
Mumukshu ashram is also the head office of Swami Shukdevanand Trust, under which Parmarth Niketan, Hrishikesh and Parmarth Ashram, Haridwar are operated.
Senior political analyst Brajesh Shukla said that Chinmayanand joined the Ram Mandir movement to fulfil his political ambitions and since then he became a womaniser also. He owns several ashrams including one ashram in Haridwar. Atal Bihari Vajpayee made him minister as he promised that he will sort out the problems of Poorvanchal. A video surfaced quite a long time back in which he is seen scuffling with a woman. He was associated with the VHP but never came forward during the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6.
Chinmayanand was elected to Parliament from the Badaun Lok Sabha seat on a BJP ticket in 1991. He became a Member of Parliament for a second time in 1998 from Machhlishahr and again in 1999 from Jaunpur.
He was denied a Lok Sabha ticket in 2014 by the BJP. His influence inside the party started diminishing when he was accused of sexual harassment and a case was registered against him eight years back. The woman who accused him of sexual harassment lived in his ashram itself. Though the case was withdrawn after the BJP government came into power but the victim challenged it in the High Court. As of now, the High Court has given a stay order to Chinmayanand in this case.
Meanwhile, a 24-year-old student of Swami Shukdevanand Law University produced a video and accused Chinmayanand of sexual harassment and said that there was a threat to her life. After the video went viral, the girl went absconding.
The victim's father registered a complaint at Shahjahanpur accusing Chinmayanand of kidnapping his daughter and issuing threats. A case was registered against Chinamayanand under various sections of the IPC. Later, Advocate Om Singh representing Chinmayanand filed an extortion case.
The Supreme Court then intervened in the matter and the victim along with a friend was traced to Rajasthan. She was produced in the Supreme Court and a Special Investigation Team began probing the case on the orders of the apex court.
The victim's statement was recorded under Section 164 in cognizance to her complaint registered with the Delhi Police. The SIT sent the mobile phones of the witnesses and the pen drives to the forensic lab.
Chinmayanand was arrested by the SIT on September 20 from Mumukshu ashram after the victim accused him of sexually harassing her for nine months, making a video of rape, making a video while she was bathing. The court has sent him to jail for 14 days and now he has to appear in Allahabad High Court on September 23.