After a daylong drama, the Chandigarh Police on Wednesday re-arrested Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son, Vikas Barala , and his friend, Ashish Kumar, accused of stalking and trying to kidnap Haryana IAS officer V S Kundu’s daughter, Varnika Kundu, on the night of August 4.
Since morning, the Chandigarh Police kept on playing hide-and-seek with the media. On Tuesday night, two police teams were despatched to Vikas’s native village at Tohana in Fatehabad district of Haryana and Ashish’s place of residence in Bhiwani. The teams had gone to arrest the accused and in case they were not found at their places, their kin were to be served notices under Section 160 of CrPC. Through these notices, the police direct the accused to join investigation in a particular criminal case in which they are wanted.
A similar notice was pasted outside Subhash Barala’s residence in Sector 7 here on Wednesday morning. As the media got to know about it, they thronged Barala’s residence. Police officers told mediapersons that since Vikas refused to accept the notice, they pasted it outside his residence in Sector 7. About an hour later, however, police statements changed and it was said that Vikas and Ashish had accepted the notices and they would be appearing before the police.
Although the two were asked to appear before the police at 11 am, they reached Sector 26 police station about 2.30 pm. By that time the media had assembled outside the police station. Activists of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party too had reached the police station and started protesting.
Heavy police deployment was made to push the media to one side and keep the protesters outside the main gate of the police station. Accompanied by Deputy Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) Pawan Kumar, the two accused entered the police station in a white Ford Endeavour and were immediately taken into the police station.
SSP Eish Singhal arrived soon thereafter and went inside to interrogate both the accused, who were briefed about the new evidence collected against them. Subsequently, they were informed about their arrest and an intimation was sent to their family members by the police as a standard procedure.
A police team led by Eish Singhal and comprising DSP Satish Kumar and SHO Jaspal Singh interrogated both the accused. It took the police about three hours to complete the formalities after which DGP T S Luthra addressed the media at the police headquarters, and announced that the police had arrested both the accused and slapped abduction bid charge on them.
Late in the evening, both were taken to the Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, for medical examination.
Already facing flak for giving preferential treatment to the accused, particularly considering Vikas’s political background, the Chandigarh Police was again left red-faced when they allegedly made Vikas meet one of his associates on way back from the hospital to the police station. The footage of Vikas meeting somebody in the White Endeavour (the same vehicle in which he had reached the police station) was captured by the media cameras.
However, no police officer commented on the incident.
Heavy police deployment was made at the District Courts Complex in Sector 43 on Wednesday evening. There was an apprehension that both the accused would be produced in the court. But DGP Luthra said that both the accused would be produced in the court on Thursday.
Apprehending that both the accused may not acknowledge the police notices, the Chandigarh Police on Wednesday morning had moved an application in the local court seeking warrants to search the houses of both the accused. The search warrants were granted to the police in the evening. But by that time both the accused had already landed in police custody.
When the teams landed in Fatehabad and Bhiwani, they learnt that both Vikas and Ashish were in Chandigarh. The police learnt that Ashish was staying at his friend’s residence in Mansa Devi Complex. Thus, two policemen went there. Ashish was found there and served the notice.
As the media flashed stories about Vikas Barala refusing to accept the notice that led the police to paste it outside his father’s residence in Sector 7, Chandigarh, Subhash Barala’s PA Krishan Kumar came outside the house and said that he accepted the notice on Vikas’s behalf and he would soon appear before the police.
Bet of the accused
Sources said during their interrogation, both the accused informed the police officers that they had got badly drunk that night. While going to Vikas’s home, they spotted Varnika driving a black sedan near Sector 7 petrol pump. A police officer privy to the interrogation said the accused told the police that “it was only a bet between them to check if the person driving that black sedan was a man or a woman”. However, the police officers did not buy the argument of the accused.
What they did before stalking
The accused told the police that Ashish stayed at his friend’s place in Mansa Devi Complex. He came to meet Vikas at his residence in Sector 7 and parked his car there. Then they both sat in Vikas’s Tata Safari and went to Ellante Mall, where Ashish exchanged a pair of shoes that he had bought a week ago. From there, they came to Sector 9 and purchased beer from a liquor store. After consuming it, they went to another liquor store in Sector 7 and purchased more liquor around 11 pm. They kept on drinking in their SUV for about an hour in the parking lot of Sector 7. It was about 12.15 am on August 5 when they spotted Varnika and began stalking her.
Apprehending that some members of political parties may stage protests outside the district courts on Thursday, the Chandigarh Police has made heavy deployment at the district courts, cordoning off the entry and exit routes.