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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Varnika Kundu stalking case: Accused Vikas Barala, Ashish Kumar’s bail plea dismissed

Chandigarh disc jockey Varnika Kundu was allegedly stalked by Haryana BJP chief’s son Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar.

punjab Updated: Aug 29, 2017 21:00 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
After the incident, Kundu stood up for herself and her Facebook post on the incident went viral. Her father, a senior bureaucrat, also put out a strongly worded statement.
After the incident, Kundu stood up for herself and her Facebook post on the incident went viral. Her father, a senior bureaucrat, also put out a strongly worded statement.(HT File )

A local court on Tuesday dismissed the bail plea of Vikas Barala and Ashish Kumar accused of stalking and trying to kidnap city-based DJ Varnika Kundu on intervening night of August 4 and 5.

Vikas, son of Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Subhash Barala, and his friend Ashish were booked for stalking and released on bail soon after the incident. The police had added the charge of attempt to kidnap and rearrested them a few days later.

Judicial magistrate first class Barjinder Pal Singh pronounced the order at the Chandigarh district courts after listening to arguments of both sides, which lasted for more than an hour.

The judicial officer observed that in light of the seriousness of the issue and the mental agony faced by the victim, the accused’s plea is denied.

The court order also mentioned how the decision was taken, keeping “humanity” and “lack of respect for womanhood” in mind in this entire incident.

‘All are equal before law’

Earlier, defence counsel Rabindra Pandit urged the court to decide the bail plea keeping in mind the facts of the case and not because it involved a person from an influential family.

“All our equal before law. Even if one is Modi’s son or CM’s son or BJP state chief’s son,” he said. Pandit said there was no convincing proof of whether the accused wished to kidnap Varnika. “It is not even clear why they would want to kidnap her, whether for ransom or something else?”

‘Trauma lasted for 25 minutes’

However, the prosecution, represented by district attorney Manu Kakkar, said the “trauma” lasted for 25 minutes over a stretch of 5.8km and it wasn’t a one-off incident. He opposed the defence’s version, wherein they claimed that “merely knocking at a car door didn’t mean” kidnapping.

“The accused banged the car door and would have managed to succeed had the victim not used her presence of mind and managed to use the central locking system,” said Kakkar. “The boys acted like wild beasts wanting to fulfil their lust,” he said, pointing to the way they chased her “repeatedly” and blocked her car.

The prosecution said the girl was forced to drive so fast due to panic that she could have even lost her life. He also shared the disclosure statements of the accused wherein they both had told the police, “Humne ek ladki ko gaadi mein jaate dekha aur humein gande khayal aaye (We saw a girl in a car and had bad thoughts).”

‘Were reeking of alcohol’

Complainant’s lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj was also present is court. Besides agreeing with the prosecution’s version, he opposed the defence’s stance, wherein they said “no sane person would chase a car without knowing what to get in return”.

“Precisely, they didn’t know the person inside was an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer’s daughter,” he said. “For them it was about finding a girl in a car when they were reeking of alcohol.”

The details of the CCTV footage of a liquor vend near where the incident took place and few photographs were also presented before the magistrate.

Kundus laud decision

Varnika’s father, VS Kundu, was seen listening to the arguments very patiently. Soon after the order was pronounced, he smiled.

Later, talking to HT outside the court, he expressed satisfaction. “This shows justice can prevail in any system,” he said.

Varnika, however, preferred to stay at home but lauded the decision through a post on Facebook. It read, “The law of a state is only as good as the people who uphold it; And the judgments this past week, including the bail that was denied today, have done wonders for the faith of the public in the judicial system!”

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 16:18 IST

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