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As Haryana BJP chief’s son gets bail, questions arise over police action #Vaw

Haryana BJP chief’s son  was held for stalking DJ, drink-driving; woman narrates ordeal on Facebook

The accused were arrested from the housing board light point, Manimjara, bordering Panchkula district of Haryana.

After Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president’s son, Vikas Barala, arrested for stalking and drink driving, was released on bail on Saturday, politicians and social media users are accusing Chandigarh Police of buckling under pressure and going soft against the accused.

The UT police is being accused of not adding Section 365 (kidnapping) and 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) in the FIR registered against the duo, even as the woman in her Facebook post had alleged an attempt to kidnap.

HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Vikas Barala, the 23-year-old son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and his friend were arrested late on Friday night, police said.
Vikas Barala, the 23-year-old son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and his friend were arrested late on Friday night, police said.

Police have arrested two persons, including the son of Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief, for allegedly stalking a senior IAS officer’s daughter.

Vikas Barala, the 23-year-old son of BJP’s Subhash Barala, and his friend Ashish Kumar, 27, were arrested from the Housing Board light point late on Friday night. They were later released on bail.

While Barala’s son is a law student at a Kurukshetra college, Ashish is a law graduate. The SUV is registered in the name of Jaideep, a relative of Barala, said the police.

The girl, a disc jockey, who was driving from Sector 9, Chandigarh, towards Panchkula at 12.35am, alleged that two men followed her in their Tata Safari Storm (HR-23G-1008) from the Sector 26 Grain Market area. Both were drunk, she alleged, adding that the SUV pulled up close to her car several times and even tried to block her way to force her to other routes.

She claimed that at one point, the SUV blocked her way and the person in the co-driver’s seat got down and started walking towards her vehicle. She reversed the vehicle to evade them, but they continued to follow her. The girl then called up the 100 helpline and gave the number details of the SUV and her location.

“We have registered a case against Vikas, a resident of Fatehabad, and Bhiwani resident Ashish, under Sections 354-D (stalking a woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act (drink driving) at the Sector 26 police station. They both are putting up in Sector 7, Chandigarh,” said deputy superintendent of police (DSP east) Satish Kumar.

After their arrest, they were taken for medical examination, which confirmed that they were drunk, said the DSP, adding that after recording the girl’s statement before a magistrate, Section 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC was added to the first information report (FIR).

Barala is BJP MLA from Tohana in Fatehabad. A Jat leader, he was appointed BJP chief in November 2014, months after the party formed the government in Haryana.

Though Barala could not be contacted, Jawahar Yadav, chairman, Haryana Housing Board, read out his statement to the media stating that he respects law. “Let the police hold a fair investigation so that truth can come out,” Barala’s statement read.

Hours after the incident, the 29-year-old woman took to Facebook and shared her harrowing experience of being “almost kidnapped”.

“If this is what women deal with in one of the safer cities in the country, where are we going?” she questioned.

“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 Chd, it can happen anywhere.”

Her father, an IAS officer posted with the Haryana government, wrote on Facebook: “I will be failing in my duty as a father to my daughter if I did not stand with her completely in this matter.”

“…The goons must be punished, and the law must take its course. As would be expected, the goons are from influential families. We all know most such cases of harassment go unpunished and even unreported. We know it’s not going to be an easy struggle.”

As the case was registered for stalking under Section 354-D (stalking) of the Indian Penal Code, which is a bailable offence when a person is booked the first time, the two walked free for the time being.

Congress leader and former Union minister Manish Tewari said on Sunday that the police have “completely diluted” the case under pressure. Even the legal fraternity is divided on the issue.

The UT police is being accused of not adding Section 365 (kidnapping) and 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) in the FIR registered against the duo, even as the woman in her Facebook post had alleged an attempt to kidnap.

“Police have completely diluted the case under the BJP pressure, and have not added Section 365 and 511. It has exposed the BJP’s double standard,” said Tewari.

Even as the FIR mentions “complaint regarding harassment and attempt to kidnap and outrage the modesty of a girl”, the sections were not included on the basis of the woman’s statement before the magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, said police.

UT senior superintendent of police (SSP) Eish Singhal said: “We always go by the victim’s statement, in which no such case of kidnapping was made out. To claim it in a Facebook post is different. Nonetheless, we are seeking legal opinion.”

‘They came with intent to abduct’

Talking to HT, the woman said: “I didn’t specifically use the word kidnap before the magistrate. But, any girl or any person whose car window was being knocked on at that hour would know this wasn’t just a routine affair. One can sense it. It couldn’t have been for a conversation, right? It was with an intention of abduction.”

The 29-year-old, however, said she had faith in the system, given the promptness the cops showed that night after she contacted them.

“Besides being punished as per law, the accused need to be punished in a way that they realise the trauma of the person on the receiving end,” she said.

Her father, a senior Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer, said: “At this stage, we don’t want to intervene in police investigation. But if at a latter stage we feel the matter hasn’t been dealt with properly, I will bring in my own team of lawyers. More sections can always be added in court. I have faith in our judicial system.”

The police had initially registered an FIR under Section 354 D of the IPC at the Sector 26 police station. Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act (driving by a drunken person) was added after the medical examination of the accused stated “their breathe smelled of alcohol”.

After the woman’s statement before the magistrate, Section 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC was also added.

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Comment (1)

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    The action of Haryana police raises many questions. The girl who was stalked should receive justive

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