Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said the arrest of state BJP chief Subhash Barala's son for allegedly stalking a young woman in Chandigarh was "individual issue" and the father should not be punished for the son's crime as the Opposition Congress asked the ruling party to sack its top leader.
"I have come to know that Chandigarh police had registered a case and I think that the police will investigate the matter properly. I believe in the law. his issue is not of Subhash Barala. It is an individual issue and law will take its own course," Khattar said in response to opposition's demands to remove the BJP chief from his post.
Vikas Barala, the 23-year-old son of Haryana' BJP chief was arrested along with his friend Ashish Kumar for allegedly stalking a girl late on Friday night. The girl is a daughter of senior bureaucrat.
The incident came to light when a girl called up the police on Friday night, complaining that two boys were chasing her. Both the accused were released later on bail as they were booked under bailable sections of the IPC and the Motor Vehicles Act.
No political pressure, say Police
"We received a complaint from a girl (who was driving a car) that somebody was chasing her. We flashed the number of vehicle and found two boys sitting in the SUV. Then PCR staff located them and apprehended them," UT Chandigarh Police DSP Satish Kumar told reporters here today.
"After getting complaint from the girl, we booked both Vikas Barala and Ashish Kumar and arrested them immediately," the DSP said.
He said the accused had allegedly chased the girl from for some distance. "They even tried to stop the (girl's) vehicle twice or thrice. They also banged the girl's vehicle with hands," the DSP said while quoting the complaint of girl.
"We got the medical (examination) conducted of both the boys and found the presence of alcohol in them," said DSP.
Police then impounded the vehicle of boys.
Both Vikas, who is a student of LLB, and his friend Ashish were booked under section 354 D (stalking) of IPC and 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act (driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs), the police said.
After the girl recorded her statement before the area magistrate here under section 164 of the CrPC, police added another section 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) in the FIR.
"After going through the girl's statement, we have added section 341 and legal opinion will be taken to see if more sections can be added," said DSP.
When asked why sections 365 (kidnapping) and 511 of the IPC were not added in the FIR, the police official said these sections were not applied as there was no mention in the girl's statement given under section 164 of CrPC that there was an attempt to abduct her.
"Earlier, we saw the possibility of adding sections 365 and 511 in the FIR. But when we received the original copy of the girl's statement, we found that there was no mention that any attempt was made to abduct her. The girl did not mention about her abduction. Therefore, we did not find possibility of adding these sections," he said.
"But we will take legal opinion in this regard. We will send the statement of girl for legal opinion and if any other section can be added, we will add it," he added.
When asked whether the police faced any political pressure to save the son of Haryana's ruling party leader, the DSP said there was no political pressure on the police.
"There is no political pressure. There was no phone call (of politicians). Whatever action has been taken in this case was on the basis of girl's statement," insisted the DSP.
He further said that there was a difference between the girl's statement on her Facebook account and the statement given under section 164 of the CrPC.
Mockery of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao', says Opposition
The incident has triggered a political outcry with Opposition seeking sacking of Subhash Barala by the BJP.
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala earlier tweeted, "Whose son was found caught while kidnapping a girl? They talk about saving girls (Beti Bachao). If it (party) has a little bit of self respect, it should remove such a president."
INLD leader RS Chaudhary said, “The BJP had launched the campaign of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, but this case has exposed the real face of its leaders.”
“When daughter of a senior officer is not safe, we can easily imagine the plight of the common man,” he said.
Haryana Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Kiran Choudhry said, “The BJP leaders, who gave slogan of Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao, are busy preaching others. It would have been better if they would have preached their president Barala on this.”
Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar condemned the incident and demanded public apology from Barala on the issue.
"The arrogance of power in the BJP, the party which talks about saving girl child, has reached such a level that the son of sitting MLA dared to commit such crime," he said.
He said the Congress workers will protest across the state tomorrow against the act of state BJP chief's son.
'Truth will come out through court'
Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala said he respects the law and the "truth" will come out through the court.
"We respect the law and law has taken its course. Truth will soon come out through the court. I have full faith in the law," Barala said in a statement.
(With PTI inputs)