Geetika Sharma suicide: Gopal Kanda charged with rape, unnatural sex in air hostess case

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: May 11 2013, 00:59am hrs
A Delhi court today framed charges of abettment of suicide and conspiracy against former Haryana Home Minister Gopal Kanda and paved the way for his trial in the air hostess Geetika Sharma suicide case. Court also on its own framed charges under section 376 (rape) and 377 (unnatural sex) of IPC against Kanda.

Along with 46-year-old Kanda, his close aide and employee Aruna Chadha, 40, will also face trial for similar charges. Chadha was also charged under section 376 and section 109 (abetting of commission of offence) IPC.

The charges of rape, unnatural sex and its abettment were framed against Kanda and Chadha by the court on the basis of material on record even though the police had not booked them under these penal provisions.

They have also been charged with offence of forgery with intention to cheat and harm the reputation of the victim.

"I hold that prima facie charges under sections 306 (abettment of suicide), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 468 (forgery with intention to cheat), 469 (forgery with intention to harm reputation), 466 (forgery of record of public register) and 471 (using forged documents as genuine) are made out against Gopal Kanda and Aruna Chadha," District Judge S K Sarvaria said.

After framing charges, the district judge sent the matter for trial before the fast track court dealing with sexual offence cases. The court has fixed the matter for May 27 for recording of prosecution evidence.

Geetika, who was earlier employed with Kanda's MDLR airlines, was found dead on August 5 at her Ashok Vihar residence in North West Delhi. In her August 4 suicide note, she had said she was ending her life due to "harassment" by Kanda and Chadha.

Kanda was forced to resign from his post of minister of state for home in Haryana following the registration of the case.

The court, while framing charges, said that incriminating materials placed by the police, prima facie established that Kanda has "repeatedly committed rape" upon the deceased during her employment with MDLR and this fact was reflected by her behaviour of leaving the organisation again and again.

"The prosecution, in my view, has prima facie established that accused Gopal Goyal Kanda has repeatedly committed rape upon deceased victim from time to time during the period of her employment with MDLR without her consent which fact is reflected by her behaviour of leaving MDLR again and again to escape from clutches of the inhuman sexual exploitation by the accused," the court said.

It further said as the victim was "pressurized" to come to office, "the presumption is that her sexual exploitation was possibly done by accused Gopal Goyal Kanda in the office of MDLR and/or any other place within his special knowledge."

Lending credence to postmortem report and other facts, including the victim's suicide note, the court said that Kanda also indulged in "commission of unnatural offence" with the victim while she was employed with MDLR.

"Therefore, the offence of rape as defined under section 375 IPC and made punishable under section 376 IPC is prima facie attracted against accused Gopal Goyal Kanda.

"In addition, the postmortem report along with other facts and circumstances of the case, including statement of deceased in the suicide note dated August 8, 2012 that accused persons had made her life abnormal, shows that accused Gopal Goyal Kanda has also repeatedly indulged in commission of unnatural offence with the deceased victim during the period of her employment with MDLR, which offence is punishable under section 377 IPC," the judge said.