Ever since the name of Vikas Barala broke out in the Varnika Kundu stalking case, the police have been trying to shield the son of Haryana BJP chief with all its might.
While the BJP leadership has refused to take action against Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala whose son Vikas turned the party’s slogan ‘Beti Bachao’ to ‘Beta Bachao’ and ‘Beti Darao’, the Chandigarh Police too are accused of diluting the Varnika Kundu stalking case. First, they dropped non-bailable sections to release the accused. Police had first added bailable sections of IPC such as 354-D (stalking, bailable first time) and 185 of Motor Vehicle Act (drunken driving).
They had later announced inclusion of section 341 (wrongful restraint), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine a person ) and 511 (attempting to commit offences). However, the charges were dropped by quoting the victim’s statement recorded under section 164 of CrPC saying she did not say anything about abduction.
Police were caught making white lies twice about the kidnapping attempt. When questioned why section 365 or 511 were not applied, they kept on saying that the victim did not speak about the kidnapping attempt. A careful scrutiny of the victim’s complaint and statement, however, clearly mentions that she used ‘attempt to kidnap’ phrase prominently. Senior police officers were also caught contradicting their own statements. DSP Satish Kumar initially said the accused have been booked under sections 365, 341 and 511; and 185 of MVA.
Later, the same officer said the victim’s statement and her Facebook post did not match, and so they dropped sections 365 and 511, and released the accused. The same officer had also said that CCTV footage was missing. SSP Eish Singhal had said on August 7 that he will not comment on CCTV footage.
However, within hours, a junior officer claimed that police had obtained footage from five cameras. Eyebrows were raised as the announcement was made after the Home ministry sought a report on the entire episode. Why did Singhal not tell anything about the footage and left the conference in the middle when journalists questioned him?
Also, police did not arrest the accused, but rather ‘entertained’ them. The accused, Vikas and Ashish, were arrested on paper, but were in fact kept as guests at the sector 26 police station. Insiders said police offered them cold coffee and released them secretly to save them from media glare. Though police said they were not influenced, but developments in the case suggest otherwise.
Allegations of police turning a blind eye to the Barala family’s wrongdoings have been made for long. Two other members of the family accused of abducting a minor girl are also roaming free. Fatehabad Police are yet to arrest Vikram and Kuldeep, cousins of Vikas, who along with two others are accused of kidnapping a minor girl.