Chandigarh stalking: Varnika Kundu wasn’t at police station; father, uncle filed plaint, claims defence
According to the tower location, Varnika was at Fatehpur in Chamkaur Sahib, Rupnagar district, at 11:23pm that night. The call details of her phone during the rest of the night also do not show her location around the Sector-26 police station, where she had claimed that she had gone to lodge a formal complaint.punjab Updated: Jan 10, 2018 12:28 IST
Giving a new twist to the prosecution story in the Chandigarh stalking case, the call records of victim Varnika Kundu’s phone show that she wasn’t in the city right before the incident on the intervening night of August 4 and 5 last year.
During her cross-examination in court on Monday, Varnika also admitted that a lawyer was present along with her father and her at the police station when the complaint was filed against Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP chief, and his friend Ashish Kumar at Sector 26 that night. The two are facing trial on charges of stalking and kidnap bid.
‘Varnika’s signature forged’
Responding to defence counsel Rabindra Pandit’s question, the 29-year-old disc jockey admitted that Punjab and Haryana high court advocate RC Takoria — who is her paternal aunt’s husband — was called to the police station by her father, VS Kundu, a Haryana-cadre Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer.
Following this, Pandit suggested that Kundu and Takoria drafted the complaint and that Varnika’s signatures were forged. Sources said the defence plans to send the documents for forensic examination.
‘Call records belie claim’
When confronted with her mobile tower location according to her call details that night, Varnika maintained that she had left in her car from Sector 8 when the two accused started following her.
According to the tower location, Varnika was at Fatehpur in Chamkaur Sahib, Rupnagar district, at 11:23pm that night. Varnika said she had gone to Sector 8 around that time to pick up her car, which she had given for repairs that morning.
The call details of her phone during the rest of the night also do not show her location around the Sector-26 police station, where she had claimed that she had gone to lodge a formal complaint. However, call details of her father and advocate show their location around the police station.
Using these details, the defence counsel again suggested that Varnika did not accompany her father and advocate, when the complaint was filed in her name.
Call details furnished, including timings, duration and tower locations of Varnika Kundu’s prepaid phone, a copy of which is with HT, indicate that the city-based DJ was constantly on a telephonic conversation with her friend Anubhav Gorang for 4,136 seconds (an hour and nine minutes) from 11.23pm to 12.32am before and while the alleged stalking episode played out on the intervening night of August 4 and 5 last year. The fact was brought to the court’s notice as well on Monday.
Varnika was allegedly stalked and given a car chase by Vikas Barala, a student of law at Kurukshetra University, and Ashish, a law graduate last year. The duo were arrested after a police complaint was made. At the time of incident, the two were found to be under the influence of liquor. Charges for stalking and kidnapping bid were framed against the accused.
Conversation continued after police call: Records
The call details indicate that there was a break of 79 seconds in the conversation when Varnika dialled 100 (at 12.33am) for police assistance, and thereafter she again called Gorang, a chef at a restaurant in Manali. She continued the conversation for another eight minutes before it was interrupted by the police calling her (at 12.43am) to inform her that the accused had been taken in custody and she needed to come to the police station to identify them. After receiving the call, Varnika had another word with Gorang for 38 seconds before she finally called her father on his mobile for the first time during the entire episode.
‘Kept changing version’
Meanwhile, the defence counsel also suggested that the complainant had “improved” upon her earlier version multiple times before the court.
It was argued that unlike during her cross-examination, wherein she claimed that she was blocked for the first time outside KBDAV School, Sector 7, when confronted with her complaint, she said she did not specifically state where she was blocked. The defence counsel suggested that Madhya Marg was wide enough for three vehicles to drive parallel and hence no one would feel the need to block a car.
Pandit also raised other questions, like whether Varnika was aware of the presence of CCTV cameras at various spots on the way, to which she claimed she wasn’t specifically aware of all of them. When asked after how long the accused were sent for medical examination, Varnika said they were sent about half an hour after she reached the police station and that she and her father left the police station between 6am and 6.30am on August 5. She also stated that she had seen the footage of three CCTV cameras as shown by the police, when asked about the same.
When asked if she used the word kidnap when she called the PCR that night, Varnika said she informed the cops that she was being chased by two boys in a car and that there was an attempt to kidnap her. She claimed that she didn’t specifically recall if she mentioned kidnapping while recording her statement before the magistrate the next day.
The remaining cross-examination will be held on Tuesday as the defence sought time to go through her earlier statement before raising his remaining questions.