CHANDIGARH: The CCTV footage showing the high-speed chase of Varnika Kundu by Vikas Barala on Friday night was of little help to the Chandigarh police in nailing the case.
The stalking, chasing and near-abduction of the 29-year-old woman has become a huge controversy in Haryana. Varnika, 29, is the daughter of a Haryana IAS officer, and Vikasa Barala is the son of Haryana BJP president Subhash Barala.
After initially dilly-dallying, police said they managed to secure footage from five CCTV cameras along the 7 km route of the midnight chase. All the footage was from private cameras, and nothing from cameras installed by the Chandigarh administration.
According to one police officer, the footage obtained from one of the cameras shows two vehicles passing at 12.36 am Saturday, the first a sedan and the second an SUV following 19 seconds later. “We suspect that the first car is Varnika’s and the SUV is Vikas Barala’s. The faces cannot be established nor are the registration number plates clear,’’ he said.
In another clip, two young men are seen coming out of a liquor store in Sector 9 but again their faces cannot be identified in the hazy footage.
The Chandigarh Administration installed 94 CCTV cameras around the city, mainly at street corners, traffic light points and roundabouts. But since July 23 of those cameras have been on the blink. On Friday night, when the chase took place, all the CCTVs installed on Madhya Marg from PGI to the Fun Republic light point were out of order.
An official of engineering department, which maintains the cameras, said the cables of all the cameras on Madhya Marg were cut.
Police were silent Tuesday when asked why Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar were not taken to the crime scene for a reconstruction. Forensic experts did examine the Tata Safari driven by Barala, now parked at the Sector 26 police station.
Both Barala and Ashish Kumar are now out on bail after having been arrested on charges of trying to abduct and molest Varnika Kundu.
In Chandigarh, facing the heat for the deeds of his son, Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala denied that there was interference in the investigation either from him of his party Chandigarh.
Breaking his silence, Barala said the woman was like his daughter.
Following the incident, opposition parties in Haryana have attacked Barala with the INLD asking his resignation.
However, the BJP leader held on, stating, "The proceedings in the case are going on as per the law and whatever action under the law is needed should be taken."
He dismissed claims by opposition parties that the BJP was putting pressure on the Chandigarh police in the case. "In this matter, there is no pressure either from my side or from my party's side and there will never be any pressure," Barala said.
Report sent to Home ministry
New Delhi: The Chandigarh police have sent a report on the Varnika Kundu incident to the Union Home Ministry and Rajnath Singh may to make a statement on the case in Parliament on Wednesday.
A senior Union Home Ministry official told reporters that the Chandigarh police is a bare statement of facts.
Data tabled in Parliament by minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir did admit that incidents of stalking have shown an alarming increase in the last three years. As per the data, more than 18,000 cases of stalking were registered in India in that period.
|2014: 4,699||2014: 262|
|2015: 6,266||2015: 473|
|2016: 7,132||2016: 481|