Chandigarh stalking: Did not chase or make kidnap bid, claim Barala and friend
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Chandigarh stalking: Did not chase or make kidnap bid, claim Barala and friend

In 2-day custody: A day after the police added kidnapping to stalking charge, accused tell police they were informed of the charge by a girl only when they reached the police station

punjab Updated: Aug 12, 2017 14:33 IST
Shailee Dogra and Aneesha Bedi
Shailee Dogra and Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh stalking,stalk,kidnap bid
Ashish Kumar being produced in district courts in Chandigarh on Thursday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and co-accused Ashish Kumar, who were remanded in two-day police custody on Thursday and have been charged with bid to kidnap Varnika Kundu, 29, are learnt to have denied before police that they either stalked or made any bid to kidnap her. They, however, have admitted that they were in a car seen in the CCTV footage procured for the case.

It was only when they were brought to the police station that they were told of a complaint by a girl of stalking, they have now claimed.

Police sources said Barala was confronted with the CCTV footage from five cameras procured from along the route where Varnika was allegedly stalked on August 4 night. Barala was driving the vehicle and Ashish was sitting along his side. Barala was driving the vehicle, but denied stalking Varnika. He said he was going to Panchkula to drop Ashish, who stays there. When they were picked up by the police from the Housing light point in Manimajra there was no girl at the spot, they are learnt to have told police.

In the footage the SUV of the accused is seen following Varnika’s car. There are a few points where the car can be seen driving parallel to her vehicle, it is learnt.

‘Case of media trial’: Barala in court

At Chandigarh district courts, where the duo were produced in the afternoon, lawyer representing Barala and Ashish termed the case a “media trial” and that section for kidnapping bid was added “under pressure”. The defence counsel, Surya Prakash, stated that the accused were cooperating in the investigation for the past five days; they appeared on Wednesday after they were summoned and had already been interrogated, so the need for remand was unjustified.

“There was no exchange of words between the accused and the woman, neither did they continue to follow her. If the intention was to abduct they would have followed her to the end,” the lawyer deposed before the court, adding, “There were no weapons with them either.” The defence even took a dig at the prosecution, stating that if they had been unable to reconstruct the scene so far, how it would be possible for them to do so in two days.

The police had argued for remand, claiming that it was “need of the hour” to “reconstruct the scene”.

Barala’s friends social media posts contradict duo

Meanwhile, a page has been created on Facebook seeking ‘justice’ for Vikas. It was created on August 9 at about 1040 pm and has about 492 followers. On the page it has been claimed that Vikas and Ashish were on their way to Panchkula when an unidentified vehicle hit their car. The post suggests that it was on insistence by Ashish that Vikas started following the car. Ashish had got down of vehicle and moved towards the other vehicle but when he saw it was a woman driving, he backed off. The post said that at this point the police arrested them.

As per the complaint, Barala, who was driving the Tata Safari Storme while Ashish Kumar, 27, sat on the co-passenger seat on intervening night of August 4 - August 5 had chased Kundu, for 20 minutes while she was driving. The vehicle, they were in is registered in name of Jaideep of Fatehabad, Haryana. Jaideep is a relative of Vikas.

Barala and Kumar were arrested on Wednesday on charges of under section 365 (kidnap) with Section 511 (attempt to abduct) of IPC. The duo had earlier been arrested on August 5 on charges under section 354 D (stalking a woman), 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code and 185 of Motor Vehicle Act (driving by a drunken person) and soon released on bail.

Varnika’s father visits Sector-26 police station

On Thursday, Varnika’s father VS Kundu, a senior bureaucrat of Haryana too had visited police station in sector-26 and was there for about 30 minutes. However he left without speaking to media. When contacted, VS Kundu, said, “The matter is subjudice and I would not like to speak about the investigations”. DSP (east) Satish Kumar, who is associated with the police had visited Kundu’s house in Panchkula on Wednesday night.

Barala, friend wear grim look in court

Accused of stalking and chasing a 29-year-old DJ, Vikas Barala was protected by 12 police personnel when he arrived at a local court on Thursday. Surrounded by a human chain of sorts, the 23-year-old law graduate wore a grim look and appeared timid as he covered the lower half of his face with a handkerchief. The victim, Varnika Kundu, in an ironical twist, has been the most visible face on the media since the incident.

Police were spotted lining up half an hour before Vikas and co-accused, Ashish Kumar, were produced before the judicial magistrate. Citing “security reasons”, a heavy police force kept journalists from going near Vikas, let alone speak to him. Ashish, although grim, appeared more confident even while responding to the judge. Vikas was barely audible.

The magistrate repeatedly asked those who were not connected to the case to leave and even asked some people standing near the witness box to not cross the “Lakshmana rekha”.

The courtroom was full to the brim with some standing on chairs to take a good look at the Haryana BJP president’s son. Outside the courtroom, it was ‘selfie-time’ as people were in a celebratory mood.

At one point, the magistrate also took a dig at a lawyer, saying, “You don’t turn up for hearings in your own cases, but today you’re here.”

Police recreate crime scene based on Vikas’s version

On late Thursday night, police took Vikas Barala to crime scene and tried to recreate the route as per his version.

The police along with the accused drove through the route which accused had taken on Friday night when they had stalked Varnika Kundu. They started from Sector 7 and went right up to the Housing Board lights where the accused were intercepted and arrested by the police. The accused were then taken for a medical examination at GMSH, Sector 16.

First Published: Aug 11, 2017 10:40 IST