Non-bailable sections added in Chandigarh stalking case; Vikas arrested

NSUI student shout slogans during a protest against Chandigarh stalking case, at DU North Campus in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Chandigarh: Haryana BJP President Subhash Barala’s son Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar were on Wednesday arrested again by the Chandigarh Police after they were booked under the non-bailable sections of attempt to abduct and attempt to commit offence for stalking an IAS officer’s daughter.

Both accused, who appeared before police on Wednesday afternoon, were interrogated by police officials for over two hours before being booked under Section 365 (kidnapping or abduction with intent to confine person) and Section 511 (attempt to commit offence punishable with life imprisonment).

“Following interrogation, new facts have emerged. We have decided to press two new charges. These are attempted abduction (sections 365 and 511). We have decided to arrest them,” Chandigarh Director General of Police Tejinder Luthra told the media here.

“They will be produced in court tomorrow. We will seek police remand from the court. We have to confront them with various facts,” Luthra said.

“The arrests and new charges are based on many new facts like legal opinion, new pieces of evidence in form of CCTV footage, statement of witnesses and map of the route,” he said.
“There are many things in investigations that I cannot share with you. I will refrain from divulging very minute details at this stage.”

He added: “There is no political pressure (on us). We are doing everything objectively, professionally and independently.”

The incident of stalking happened on the night of August 4-5. The Chandigarh Police came under widespread criticism for allegedly favouring the accused who stalked and intimidated Varnika Kundu, 29, daughter of Haryana Additional Chief Secretary VS Kundu.

Both the accused arrived amid high drama at the Sector 26 police station, in a Ford Endeavour SUV, amid pouring rain.

The police threw an elaborate security ring in the police station complex to keep away Congress and AAP protesters as well as the media.

Vikas and Ashish had earlier in the day skipped police summons to join the probe. They were asked to appear before the police at 11 a.m. and only arrived around 2.30 pm.

At his official residence, Subhash Barala left his press conference in a huff, purportedly fielding a phone call from his son, after tough media queries.

DGP Luthra earlier told the media that the accused had refused to give their blood and urine samples to the doctor conducting their medical examination on Saturday.

“The doctor on duty wanted to take the blood and urine samples, but the accused being law graduates knew the law too well. Therefore, they refused to give their samples. However, such refusal can be held against them in the investigation and during the trial,” he said.

“I assure you that everything under the sun will be done to ensure justice,” said Luthra, who came before the media for the first time in five days after the incident.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Haryana washed its hands off the high-profile accused.

“Vikas (Barala) and BJP are separate. The opposition parties are trying to mislead people by saying that the BJP is influencing the probe. We deny this. The BJP does not have anything to do with it,” said Haryana BJP spokesman Jawahar Yadav.

Police had booked and arrested Vikas Barala and his friend, both of whom were drunk, on the milder charge of stalking the woman after they chased her car in their SUV, despite she alleging that the youths tried to intimidate her and abduct her.

Both were bailed out within hours of the complaint.