When SENIOR Haryana IAS officer’s daughter Varnika Kundu was stalked and allegedly a kidnapping attempt was made on her on August 5 by state BJP president Subhash Barala’s son Vikas Barala, an outrage on social media and streets forced police to invoke stringent charges against him for the crime. On Saturday, a day after his release, Vikas in his first public statement took refuge in the same medium and said on YouTube that he was “a true victim”.
“Namaskar, I am Vikas Barala. You all have been hearing a lot about me in the last five months. First and foremost, I would like to tell you that I am completely innocent. All charges levelled against me are false and baseless. In reality, I am myself the victim in this case,” he said, while appearing besides an idol of Lord Ganesha in the video. Though he had blamed media pressure for the wrongful restraint (IPC 341) and attempted abduction (IPC 365/511) charges in his case, a video was circulated by the family in the media through a PR agency on Saturday afternoon.
On Friday, a day after getting bail, Vikas’s photos with his mother at a temple, were released just hours after he came out of the prison.
“In these past five months, not once was I asked what the actual facts were and what I have to say. Many people believed I was guilty,” says Vikas in the two-minute video. “No words are enough to express the gravity of the torture, mental torture, my mother, my sister, my family and my near and dear ones have gone through in these five months. They went through unbearable pain and suffered untold trauma.”
Vikas’s bail pleas had been rejected four times by a lower court before he moved HC in November, where five lawyers appeared on his behalf, arguing that the matter had been “exaggerated” by Varnika’s family, including her father VS Kundu.
In the video, Vikas is apparently reading from a script. He has also said that since his father is the state president of a political party, many political groups have been targeting him to malign his father.
“Political circumstances were so grave that my father could not even meet me or my lawyer, lest people start accusing a father of unduly helping his son,” he says in the video. “There are no charges of eve-teasing or molestation against me either in the FIR or in court. These are all false and baseless. I am humbly appealing to all of you to please believe only in true facts and evidences, instead of gossip,” he says, adding, “In the end, I would like to reiterate that I am completely innocent.”
When contacted, Varnika Kundu termed the video a “PR stunt” .
“This video doesn’t even dignify a response. I am not surprised that someone, despite being a law student, could so brazenly commit the crime that night. We expected him and his lawyers to do whatever it takes to save him…he is definitely not the victim here,” she told Chandigarh Newsline.