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Haryana minister in dock over Geetika comment

Chandigarh, Jan 1 (IANS) A Haryana minister is in the dock along with two Congress leaders for his objectionable comments against flight attendant Geetika Sharma, who committed suicide August this year in New Delhi and blamed former state minister Gopal Kanda and another woman for driving her to it.

Labour and Employment Minister Shiv Charan Sharma has landed himself in the middle of a new controversy after he not only attended birthday celebrations of Kanda, who is at present in Delhi's Tihar Jail, in Haryana's Sirsa town but also termed Geetika as a "mere servant" of the former minister.

"This (case against Kanda) is not a big one. He (Kanda) appointed her (Geetika) as a servant by mistake," Sharma, who is also the minister for information and public relations, told the gathering from the dais at Kanda's birthday celebrations.

The birthday celebrations were organised Saturday (Dec 29) in Sirsa town, 300 km from here, by Kanda's younger brother, Govind Kanda.

Kanda, who is a sitting legislator, was arrested by Delhi Police August this year after his name figured in the suicide note of Geetika, who worked in Kanda's now defunct MDLR Airlines.

In her suicide note, she named Kanda and another MDLR official, Aruna Chadha, for her suicide.

Kanda was forced to resign as Haryana's minister of state for home affairs and urban local bodies after the controversy broke out.

Sharma's comments were not the only ones on the occasion.

Haryana's chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) and legislator Parhlad Singh Gillankhera, who also attended the birthday bash in Sirsa town, told the gathering that Gopal Kanda's birthday was also being celebrated in the Delhi jail.

"He will soon be amongst us," he said.

Another former minister, O.P. Jain, who was forced to resign from the Hooda government after his name figured in the murder conspiracy of a village headman in 2011, also attended the event in Sirsa.

There was no immediate reaction from Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his government or state Congress leaders on the controversy around Sharma and others.