In a major development in the Chandigarh stalking case, the police now agree to have obtained the CCTV footage which shows the victim being chased by Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son Vikas Barala and his friend last weekend. Speaking to The Indian Express, DGP Tejinder Singh Luthra said, “We have procured footage establishing the victim was being chased by accused in a Tata Safari. I cannot divulge the source of footage… these are either the police’s CCTV cameras or those privately installed.”
The DGP’s statement comes at a time when police and the state administration are facing criticism lax investigation pertaining to the case. In its earlier statement, the administration had stated the cameras installed in the area where the incident took place were not working since August 1. However, when Indian Express contacted Mumbai-based firm in-charge of maintaining the CCTVs, an official said there were some payment issues, but added the company had no information about any disconnected wire.
The route along which both the accused stalked the victim, Varnika Kundu, daughter of Haryana Additional Chief Secretary VS Kundu, passes through some prominent and busy parts of Chandigarh including the Sector 26 Police Lines, reported IANS. “It is strange that the CCTV cameras of such high-profile areas were not working. This seems to be a cover-up,” a junior police officer had said earlier.
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The Chandigarh Police have been accused of not invoking charge of kidnapping in the FIR, despite the complainant stating in her statement that accused made attempts to kidnap her. The police filed an FIR with charges including Section 354(d) for stalking and Section 341 for wrongful restraint — both are bailable.
Both the accused were arrested after complaint was registered, but within hours were released on bail. On Monday, SSP Eish Singhal confirmed police were yet to include charges related to ‘bid to kidnap’ in the FIR.