The Telegraph
Thursday , August 10 , 2017

Arrest and stiffer charge

The summons pasted outside Vikas Barala‚Äôs home 

Aug. 9: The Chandigarh administration today arrested Vikas Barala for trying to abduct Varnika Kundu, adding the graver charge against the Haryana BJP chief's son and a friend in the stalking case five days after they were granted bail in the police station.

"Both the accused have been arrested and will be produced in court tomorrow. We will ask for their police custody as we need them to reconstruct the scene of crime for the sake of the investigation," Chandigarh police chief Tajender Singh Luthra said.

Sources in the Union home ministry said the decision to press the charge of attempted abduction under penal code's Section 365 followed detailed discussions between home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and DGP Luthra this afternoon.

Like police forces in other Union Territories, Chandigarh police are directly controlled by the Union home ministry.

"Following the intervention of the home secretary, the stringent Section 365 read with Section 511 (attempt to commit a punishable crime) of the IPC has been slapped against the two accused Vikas and his friend Ashish Kumar. It (Section 365) is a non-bailable offence," a senior ministry official told The Telegraph.

If proved guilty under this section, the two could be jailed for up to seven years.

Vikas, 23, son of Subhash Barala who heads Haryana's ruling BJP, and Ashish, 27, are accused of chasing Varnika, 29, daughter of an IAS officer, in their white SUV on the intervening night of August 4 and 5.

Arrested the same night, the two had got bail within a couple of hours after being charged under the milder Section 354D (stalking), which entails a maximum punishment of three years, and drunken driving.

In a report to the home ministry, Chandigarh police had said a doctor was called to the police station that night. "The doctor observed that the accused persons were smelling of alcohol... but they had refused to undergo blood and urine test. The denial to undergo medical test will be held against them during the trial of the case as they did not co-operate with the probe," the report said.

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