The Chandigarh Police has confirmed that it has retrieved CCTV footage of the incident of alleged stalking by Haryana BJP chief’s son Vikas Barala and his friend, who followed an IAS officer's daughter's car on her way home.
“The Chandigarh Police have retrieved footage of five CCTV cameras on the route, capturing the chase of victim’s vehicle by the alleged vehicle of the accused,” a Chandigarh Police officer was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. He confirmed that the footage showed the victim’s car being followed by a white SUV. The police had received flak earlier on Monday after they said the CCTVs along the route were non-functional.
Speaking to The Indian Express, DGP Tejinder Singh Luthra said that the police have procured footage establishing that the victim was being chased by the accused in a Tata Safari. However, he refused to divulge the source of footage, which he said were either from the police’s CCTV cameras or those privately installed.
According to DNA, police have retrieved footage from five of the seven CCTV cameras installed along the route, and will provide further details at a press conference on Tuesday.
The victim had called up the police on Friday night complaining that two youth were chasing her along a stretch of over five km. Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala's son Vikas (23) and Ashish Kumar (27) were initially arrested but were released on bail hours later. The footage is vital to proving the charge that Vikas and Kumar followed 29-year-old Varnika Kundu on 4 August at midnight.
Congress lashed out at the government over the lack of necessary action against the culprits, a day after Vikas and Kumar were arrested and released on bail. The party's vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, condemned the incident and said the state government must punish the guilty and not "collude" with culprits.
Kundu, in her complaint to the police, had said the two men followed her in their SUV, pulled up the vehicle close to her car several times and even tried to block her way.
The victim's father, a senior Haryana IAS officer who had taken to social media to urge people to fight crime against women, told that he had full faith in the system and was grateful to Chandigarh Police for "saving" his daughter's life. On Monday, however, he said that the victim's family would move court if the charges against the alleged culprits were diluted.
Meanwhile, MP from Chandigarh and BJP leader Kirron Kher assured the victim on Monday that justice would be served and had rubbished the claims of the CCTV footage going missing. She also said that the police were under no political pressure and were doing their job.
Kher also rejected claims that the accused were booked under lenient provisions as one of them is related to the state BJP leader.
Chandigarh Police had drawn criticism for failing to invoke charges of bid to kidnap — a non-bailable offence — in the FIR, despite the 29-year-old stating in her complaint that there was allegedly an attempt to kidnap her by Barala and Kumar.
The charges in the FIR are all bailable: Section 354 D (Stalking) of IPC, 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act (Driving under influence), Section 341 (Wrongful restraint). Both the accused were arrested and released on bail within a few hours on 5 August, when the case was registered. On Monday, SSP Eish Singhal confirmed that police were yet to include charges related to “bid to kidnap” in the FIR. "We are investigating the case with an open mind. If any section has to be added at a later stage, we will do it," he said.
With inputs from PTI
Published Date: Aug 08, 2017 09:52 AM | Updated Date: Aug 08, 2017 10:58 AM