Airhostess Geetika Sharma suicide case: Gopal Kanda seeks curbs on media coverage

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: May 23 2014, 03:34am hrs
Former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda today moved the Delhi High Court seeking a ban on reporting in the airhostess Geetika Sharma suicide case trial, saying some of the stories are "prejudicial" in nature.

The counsel for Kanda cited two news reports before a bench of Justice V P Vaish to allege that grave prejudice is being caused to him as these (reports) are scandalous and false in nature.

He also cited various apex court judgements and said the reporting, pertaining to the trial in the case, be stopped temporarily.

The court, which had reserved its order on another plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to Kanda by a trial court, said it will pronounce the verdict on the fresh plea of the accused on May 26.

Delhi Police, however, opposed Kanda's plea seeking a ban on reporting saying the state has no role in such coverage.

"The accused has separate remedy against any such alleged defamatory news articles," the counsel for police said, adding media is free to write about court proceedings and orders.

Earlier, police had opposed the bail granted to Kanda by the lower court in the case.

"The trial court glossed over the fact that there was no change in circumstances between the time when it had rejected the bail and when it granted the same to the accused (Kanda).

"There was only one change in circumstance, if any; the fact that co-accused Aruna Chadha was granted bail by high court on the grounds that she is a single parent of a 9-year- old girl and has to look after her ailing parents," the counsel for police had said.

The lower court had on October 14 last year dismissed the bail plea of Kanda and, later, on March 4, granted him bail after noting that co-accused Chadha had been released on bail by the high court.

Ankit Sharma, brother of Geetika, has sought cancellation of bail granted to Kanda.

Kanda and Chadha are facing trial for the offence of abetting the suicide by 23-year-old Geetika, who was earlier employed as an air hostess in Kanda's MDLR airlines.

Earlier, the court had asked Kanda and Delhi Police to file their replies to the bail cancellation plea.

The plea had alleged that being an "influential" politician, Kanda may tamper with evidence and influence the witnesses in the trial.

The trial court, while granting bail to Kanda, had observed that the former minister had been in judicial custody since August, 2012, in connection with the case.

Chadha was arrested on August 8, 2012, while Kanda had surrendered a few days later on August 18.

Both the accused have also been charged with forgery for cheating and harming the reputation of the victim.

Geetika was found dead on August 5, 2012, at her Ashok Vihar residence in north west Delhi. In her suicide note, she had said she was ending her life due to "harassment" by Kanda and Chadha.

The police had in its charge sheet said Kanda was obsessed with the victim and was putting pressure on her to come back to his company.