Rejecting claims of any political pressure to influence the investigation in an alleged stalking case involving his son Vikas Barala, BJP Haryana chief Subhash Barala on Tuesday said the victim is like his daughter. He also added that the BJP believes in women’s right and freedom. “Varnika (the victim) is like my daughter, there is no pressure to influence the investigation. Law should take its own course, BJP is party which believes in women’s rights and freedom,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. On Saturday, 29-year-old Varnika Kundu, the daughter of senior Haryana-cadre IAS officer V S Kundu, had alleged that Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar had stalked and chased her in a bid to kidnap her.
Chandigarh Police has come under intense criticism for not invoking the IPC sections 365 and 511 against them for the accussed for attempted kidnapping of the woman and granting bail to the duo. UT Senior Superintendent of Police Eish Singhal, in a brief interaction with the media said, “We are not working under any political pressure. Otherwise why would we register an FIR on the first day. We are investigating the case on merit. Our technical analysis of the CCTVs installed on the route on which the complainant was allegedly stalked, is going on. Once we complete our technical analysis, we shall proceed accordingly. In case any other section is required to be added in the FIR, we shall do that. So far, we have not included kidnapping bid charge in the FIR.” Read: Chandigarh stalking case: Police say they’re in no hurry to include ‘kidnapping bid’ in FIR; what has happened so far. Click here
The police faced further flak after the administration admitted that CCTV cameras along the stretch where the incident took place were non-functional. They have, however, procured CCTV footage which shows the “victim was being chased by the accused”. “We have procured footage establishing that the victim was being chased by accused in a Tata Safari. I cannot divulge the source of footage… these are either the police’s CCTV cameras or those privately installed,” DGP Tejinder Singh Luthra had told The Indian Express.
Opposition parties have also claimed that the Centre, as well as the Haryana government, were trying to “hush up” the incident and demanded the resignation of Subhash Barala. The BJP, however, made it clear that Barala would not step down. “The incident did not even take place in Haryana. It took place in Chandigarh, which is a Union Territory. The police are investigating the case. The law will take its course,” BJP general secretary in-charge of Haryana, Anil Jain, told The Indian Express. Read: Chandigarh stalking case: Pressure mounts on Haryana govt, police; victim, her father vow to continue fight. Click here
Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had earlier said that he has full faith in Chandigarh police and that the guilty will be punished. “This matter is not related with Subhash Barala but with an individual. So action would be taken against his son,” he said. BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher had raised the issue in Lok Sabha saying stalking is violence against women. “As a mother, I can understand the sentiments of the victim’s family at this time. Whatever is legal and correct in this case, will be done,” she added.