HARYANA BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son, Vikas, and his friend, Ashish Kumar, accused of chasing a woman in their vehicle for over seven kilometres on the night of August 4, were arrested on Wednesday after the Chandigarh police added the charge of attempted abduction against them. Earlier in the day, the accused were questioned for nearly three hours, after which the non-bailable charge, under Section 365 and 511 of the IPC, was added to the FIR registered against them last week, on the complaint of Varnika Kundu, daughter of senior IAS officer V S Kundu.
While the accused were arrested on Friday night, they were released on bail as they were booked under bailable sections of the IPC and the Motor Vehicles Act — stalking, wrongful restraint, and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Announcing the arrests, Director General of Police T S Luthra said: “We called both the accused for interrogation. It was a lengthy interrogation. A number of things came to the fore in today’s interrogation. So we decided to press additional charges against them — for attempted abduction. We have also placed them under arrest. Both will be produced in court tomorrow. We will request the court to grant police custody. There are a number of things for which we need the accused, to reconstruct the crime scene and to verify many other facts.”
Earlier this week, police officials said they had obtained CCTV footage which shows “the victim was being chased by the accused”. On Wednesday, Luthra said that besides the CCTV footage, they had also recorded statements of eyewitnesses.
“We are not facing any political pressure. We are doing our bit professionally, objectively and legally. New charges have been added in the FIR on the basis of new facts that have come to the fore during our investigation. We have collected new evidence in the form of CCTV footage, statements of witnesses and, of course, there is the legal opinion that formed the basis of adding new charges in the FIR,” he said.
Vikas and Ashish arrived at the police station at around 2:30 pm, following summons issued to them. Police said they had pasted the summons outside the houses of both the accused.
A little before they reached the police station, Subhash Barala and BJP spokesperson Jawahar Yadav addressed a press briefing. “Law should act in the case. I would say that police should take appropriate action in this case in which my son is named as an accused. Today morning, when I learnt that he had been called for questioning, I told him to go to the police. He was out of Chandigarh at that time, and he should be reaching the police station soon,” said Barala.
The press conference ended abruptly, after Barala received a phone call. Meanwhile, V S Kundu described the arrests as a “small step in the right direction”. “Merely re-arresting the accused is not important, their conviction for the crime that they have committed shall be important,” he said. “This is just a small step by the police in the right direction, which has restored our faith in the system to some extent, but the investigations will begin now.”