Chandigarh stalking case: Five months after arrest, Haryana BJP chief’s son gets bail
Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar are facing trial on charges of stalking and attempt to kidnap Kundu, daughter of Haryana IAS officer VS Kundu, on the night of August 4.punjab Updated: Jan 11, 2018 22:50 IST
Five months after Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP chief, Subhash Barala, was arrested for allegedly stalking DJ Varnika Kundu in Chandigarh, he was granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday. Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar, who remains in judicial custody and is yet to move the HC for bail, were arrested on August 9 last year.
They are facing trial on charges of stalking and attempt to kidnap Kundu, daughter of Haryana IAS officer VS Kundu, on the night of August 4.
Barala sought to get bail from the trial court four times, but was refused. The bail from the HC comes two days after the cross-examination of Kundu was completed at the trial court. The incident had come to light when the 29-year-old woman called the police and complained that two men followed her in an SUV when she was driving in her car from the Sector-8 market in Chandigarh towards her home in Panchkula.
The high court bench of justice Lisa Gill, while allowing his bail plea, asked Barala to refrain from trying to establish contact with Kundu, her family or other witnesses in the case and not to try and influence them.
Contacted for her comment, Kundu said, “ As I have maintained throughout, I continue to keep my faith in the system which has worked well for the victim so far. And if the court thinks it’s OK to release him on bail, then I don’t challenge that decision.”
During the hearing, Barala’s lawyer Vinod Ghai had argued that even if all allegations were taken as gospel truth, no offence of kidnapping was made out. The court was also informed that cross-examination of the woman was over and in no manner could the accused influence the trial. It was also mentioned that he had been behind bars for more than five months, and there was no allegation of influencing the trial so far.
Kundu’s lawyer did not oppose the bail but said that the accused belongs to an influential family and could delay the trial and also try to influence witnesses, hence the bail be made time-bound.
But the court said that if needed it would deal with the same at a later stage, and the complainant was at liberty to take up the matter again.
Kundu’s father, who was present at the hearing, told reporters that though bail was granted, it was conditional. “I have full faith in the judicial system. The court has assured us that if Barala tries to influence the witnesses, we can apply for cancellation of bail,” he said.
Barala’s lawyer had told the court, “The investigating agency had added section 354D of the IPC (stalking) without applying its mind. For attracting section 354D, it is necessary that a man follows a woman and contacts or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman. In the present case, there is no such allegation in the complaint which forms basis of the FIR.”
Case so far
■ Aug 4-5 intervening night: DJ Varnika Kundu allegedly stalked by Vikas Barala, Ashish Kumar; FIR filed
■ Aug 9: Accused arrested after non-bailable section of kidnap bid added to FIR
■ Aug 29: Bail denied to Barala, Ashish for the first time
■ Sept 21: Chargesheet filed against both in court
■ Oct 13: Charges framed
■ Nov 13: Barala denied bail for the fourth time
■ Nov 29: Barala moves high court for bail
■ Jan 9, 2018: Cross-examination of Kundu concluded
■ January 11: HC grants bail
(The story has been updated with more info)