Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Manish Tewari on Sunday accused the Chandigarh Police of diluting the stalking case against Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party President Subhash Barala’s son Vikas. Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar were arrested on Saturday for harassing a woman in their SUV while she was driving home on Friday night.
Tewari said that the Chandigarh Police should have invoked Section 354-D read with attempted abduction with intent to rape with their drunken state in mind, and this would have ensured they were not released on bail, The Indian Express reported. “Instead, they diluted the matter,” he said.
Tewari was part of a committee under the UPA government that amended Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code to ensure that offenders were punished for molesting, stalking and leering at women. Though he appreciated the police for their swift action, he said the charges they eventually applied indicated political pressure.
However, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said he would file a PIL against the two accused in the case.
Meanwhile, CCTV footage from five locations where the incident took place has gone missing, DNA reported. The footage could be vital evidence in the case.
Vikas Barala, 23, and his friend Ashish Kumar were drunk when they followed the woman, an IAS officer’s daughter, in their SUV while she was driving to Panchkula from Chandigarh on Friday night.
Around 12.15 am, she noticed that the two men were tailing her in a white Safari in Sector 26, then tried repeatedly to force her to pull over, so she called the police control room, she wrote on Facebook. “They left me absolutely no space to move or escape, and the passenger jumped out of the car and moved towards mine...At this point, the guy had reached my car, banged loudly on my window, and tried to open the door,” she said.
The police eventually intercepted the car, and arrested the men from the Manimjara area. The woman’s sister alleged that the men were trying to abduct her. Both are law students at a Kurukshetra college.
Subhash Barala was made the Haryana BJP president in November 2014 after the party formed the government in the state.