On the intervening night of Friday and Saturday Vikas Barala (23), who is the son of Haryana BJP Chief Subhash Barala, was arrested along with his friend in connection with a stalking case.
The 29 year old victim, who is a DJ in Chandigarh, later put up her account of the event on Facebook which soon went viral. She claimed how a White SUV which has now been identified as Tata Safari Storm started following her car at about 12:15 AM while she was driving home. She claimed that both the boys were drunk and were trying to dangerously swerve their car towards her.
She further claimed that, they blocked her car when she tried to turn right into a more safer road. Then that at the next intersection they stopped their SUV in front of her car and one of the boys got out of the car and started walking towards her, forcing her to reverse her car.
Now completely in panic she dialled 100 and the policeman as she claims sensed the urgency in her voice and promised immediate help. The boys allegedly continued their stalking and decided to take things to the next level. After again blocking her car which left absolutely no room to manoeuvre, one of them again got down and tried to open her car’s door.
Then she claimed that a PCR van timely arrived and the cops nabbed the 2 boys. After driving home in absolute fear she told her father (a senior IAS officer) about her ordeal and they later filed their. She in her post also thanked the Chandigarh police for their timely response.
The reports claimed that after the boys were arrested, they were taken for a medical examination which concluded that they were indeed drunk. Sections of 354-D and 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act (drunk driving) were slapped against them and they were later released on bail.
Now latest reports regarding the matter have suggested that certain charges which were later slapped on the accused, ended up getting dropped in order to facilitate their bail. According to the report, the police had added section 341, 365 and 511 against the accused which pertained to wrongful restraint, kidnapping and punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment respectively.
The report claimed that as the added sections were non-bailable, the police did not have the power to grant the bail and release the accused. The report also insinuated that there was an attempt to dilute the case, considering the influential background of the accused. Other reports claimed that the victim’s plea about it being an attempted kidnapping was ignored by the cops.
The police in their defence have claimed that they are taking a legal opinion regarding the matter.
Now further questions might be raised about the authorities in Chandigarh after it was reported that CCTV footage from 5 locations connected to the stalking incident are missing. These footage would reportedly have been crucial regarding the case.
The response of the Haryana BJP has been cagey. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday dissociated BJP Chief Subhash Barala from the incident by stating that he had nothing to with it. After terming it as an individual matter, he further stated that the accused would face action if found guilty. Barala himself has reportedly come out to state that he respects the law and that the “truth” will come out.
This incident has generated outrage on Social Media and people are demanding strict action against the accused:
Son of Haryana BJP chief arrested & got bail within few hours. I didn’t even return from work in that time. When Subhash Barala will Resign?
— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) August 6, 2017
Son of BJP’s Haryana chief is accused of stalking women. Now Police is changing statements to shield him. Beautiful example of “Beta Bachao”
— Rahul Raj (@bhak_sala) August 6, 2017
Disagree he should be punished https://t.co/ThNvZBt4eN
— Disgusted Eastwood (@doubtinggaurav) August 7, 2017
Also at-least two BJP MPs including senior leader Subramanian Swamy have demanded action against the accused:
But if his son is spared, that would be unpardonable CRIME. https://t.co/wq5zfNQ6qo
— Pratap Simha (@mepratap) August 6, 2017
Swamy, while speaking to Republic TV also supported the girl by stating that she had a right to dignity and that it was not good to raise questions about her character or behaviour.
Update: According to the Chandigarh police, they had tried to acquire the CCTV footage from 9 cameras along the route but all were found to be non-functional. These non-working cameras, not some kind of cover-up, appear to be the reason for the ”missing footage”.