Chandigarh Police have found crucial CCTV footage from the night the Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party chief’s son and his friend stalked a woman, Varnika Kundu, Hindustan Times reported. On Monday, the police had claimed that CCTVs along the stretch where the incident had occurred were not working. An officer told the English daily that the footage shows the woman’s vehicle being followed by a white car.
The CCTV footage shows Vikas Barala stalking Varnika Kundu, News 18 reported on Tuesday.
“The Chandigarh Police have retrieved footage of five CCTV cameras on the route, capturing the chase of victim’s vehicle by the alleged vehicle of the accused,” a Chandigarh Police officer told Hindustan Times. The central government is fighting off speculation that it tried to cover up the crime, also because Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar were not charged under harsher sections of the law, such as kidnapping.
NCW asks for regular updates
The National Commission for Women has asked for a fair investigation into the incident and asked the police to update it regularly.
“I have always said that who these people are should not matter ... they could be rich, poor, political, religious, doesn’t matter. Crime against women is crime against women,” NCW chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam said with regard to the BJP’s alleged efforts to cover up the crime. “Unfortunately, the police and the judicial system come under a lot of pressure from the so-called VVIPs and that is not correct,” PTI quoted her as saying.
Varnika Kundu’s family, however, have said they will take the case to court in case charges against Barala and Kumar are watered down. Kundu’s father added that the family would not interfere in the investigation. “The police and prosecution should be allowed to do their job. We will join the investigation whenever required by the police,” PTI quoted him as saying.
BJP not asking Subhash Barala to quit
BJP’s National General Secretary Anil Jain said the party’s Haryana unit chief Subhash Barala will not resign from his post for a case his son was implicated in. “Barala has not resigned, and he will not resign,” Jain told The Indian Express. “Let law take its own course.”
Jain’s view differs from some of his own party members’ though. Chandigarh MP and BJP leader Kirron Kher said stalking counted as violence against women. In the Lok Sabha on Monday, she had said, “We need to see stalking as a precedent to assault. It needs to be regarded as violence against women.” Even before the incident, on August 1, Kher had said, “We focus on the supposedly bigger problems of crime, while stalkers roam around with impunity, no shame in their creed,” The Indian Express reported.