Chandigarh court frames abduction, stalking charges against Haryana BJP chief’s son Vikas Barala
A Chandigarh court today charged Vikas Barala, the son of the Haryana BJP chief, and his friend Ashish Kumar with stalking and attempting to kidnap a senior IAS officer's daughter, Varnika Kundu, in a case that had triggered widespread outrage and a spate of protests.
The two had chased the 29-year-old disc jockey in their SUV through the streets of Chandigarh while she was driving to Panchkula on August 5.
The court of the judicial magistrate Barjinder Pal Singh pronounced that all the charges in the FIR have been added in the charge-sheet filed by the police.
Varnika, who attended the last two hearings, wasn't present when the charges against Vikas and Ashish were framed. The court adjourned the hearing in the case to October 27.
"The charges were framed against Vikas and Ashish under various Sections of IPC including 354 d (stalking), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 365 read with 511 (attempt to kidnap)," said defence counsel Rabindra Pandit.
The two were arrested on the intervening night of August 4 and 5 following a complaint by the woman but were released on bail as they had been booked under bailable sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Motor Vehicles Act.
They were arrested again on August 9 after they joined the police investigation and were charged with attempted abduction under sections 365 and 511 of the IPC.
Last month, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Rajnish Kumar Sharma had dismissed the bail plea of Vikas, who had been booked on charges of stalking and attempting to abduct the woman.
The prosecution counsel had earlier told the court that the "trauma" for the young woman lasted for nearly half-an hour over a stretch of 5.8 km and it wasn't a one-off incident.
He had opposed the defence's version, wherein they claimed that "merely knocking at a car door didn't mean kidnapping."
"The accused banged the car door and would have managed to succeed had the victim not used her presence of mind and managed to use the central locking system," the prosecution lawyer had told the court.
He had also said the panic-stricken young woman was forced to drive so fast that she could have even lost her life.
On August 5, Barala and Kumar had allegedly started following Kundu in their SUV here at around 12.20 am.
During the 25-minute chase, the SUV pulled up close to her car several times and even tried to block her way, Kundu had said in her complaint.
"I'm lucky, it seems, to not be the daughter of a common man, because what chance would they have against such VIPs? I'm also lucky, because I'm not lying raped and murdered in a ditch somewhere. If this can happen in Chandigarh, it can happen anywhere," she earlier wrote in a Facebook post.
Her father, Virender Kundu, is a senior officer with the Haryana government.