The Telegraph
Thursday , September 14 , 2017

Varnika father 'shunted'

Chandigarh, Sept. 13: The Haryana government has transferred Varnika Kundu's father Virender Kundu from the tourism to the science and technology department, a relatively low-key posting.

The BJP government's move fuelled speculation that the IAS officer was targeted for pursuing the police case against the son of the party's state unit chief who had allegedly chased Varnika for around 6km on the night of August 4.

Varnika, a disc jockey in Chandigarh, had accused Vikas Barala, the son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, and his friend Ashish Kumar of stalking and attempting to abduct her. Vikas and Ashish were arrested.

Kundu was among 14 IAS officers and two bureaucrats from the Haryana civil services to be transferred. The state's home secretary, Ram Niwas, was also transferred to the food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department.

Kundu, however, didn't see any "witch-hunt" in his transfer.

"It is the prerogative of the state government... it's their call. I do not see any witch-hunt in this move," he said.

The move drew reactions from the Opposition Congress.

"V.S. Kundu gets sidelined. Punished for standing up to BJP in quest for justice for his daughter Varnika Kundu?" tweeted Randeep S. Surjewala, Haryana Congress leader.

Soon after the alleged stalking of Varnika last month, Kundu had in a Facebook post declared that he and his family would not back out of the legal battle. Sources close to the family had said they were under pressure to press less stringent charges against Vikas and his friend.

A Chandigarh court has twice rejected Vikas's bail plea.

Kundu had taken charge as tourism secretary less than a year ago on October 23.

Some of his colleagues today expressed surprise over his transfer to a relatively less important department.

"It had not been even a year since he was moved to the tourism department. The timing of the transfer is suspect, given the legal battle with a politician's son," said an IAS officer.

DJ performance

Varnika today performed for the first time since the incident last month.

"It makes complete sense that my first gig after a complete upheaval of my life, would be to kick off Ladies' nights!," Varnika mentioned in a Facebook post.

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