DHAKA: A 10-minute wait turned into a four-hour-long drama outside the Ashok Vihar police station in New Delhi. Former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda, who was going to surrender around 12:30 am, according to his brother, tried doing so only a little after 4 am.
Mr Kanda, who came to the police station to surrender in a Maruti Eeco van, belonging to a news channel - UP News, was immediately arrested. Before entering the police station, Mr Kanda told the reporters that he was joining investigations as directed by the Delhi Police.
"I am here to help policemen in investigations. I am surrendering with my own will," he said. "Kanda has surrendered and we have arrested him," said P Karunakaran, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-West), according to a PTI report. (Tweets on Gopal Kanda`s arrest)
The Delhi Police is expected to produce Mr Kanda in a trial court in Rohini later today and seek his custody for questioning.
He is accused of abetting the suicide of 23-year-old former air hostess Geetika Sharma and had been on the run for 11 days. The charge of abetting suicide under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Mr Kanda has also been charged with criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.
A little after midnight, Govind Kanda, the brother of Gopal Goyal Kanda had announced that the former Haryana Minister would surrender "in 10 minutes" at the Ashok Vihar police station. The politician`s supporters raised slogans outside the police station, his lawyer is there, his brother has since been arrested by the police.
His brother, Govind Kanda, has been charged with "providing safe haven" to the politician and has been arrested, Mr Karunakaran said. Before he was arrested, Govind Kanda said, "Gopal Kanda is being trapped. He is innocent."
Mr Kanda`s lawyer too had said Mr Kanda would be at the police station soon. The lawyer avoided the word surrender; he said the Haryana politician was coming to join the investigation in the Geetika Sharma suicide case as his bail petition had been rejected on a technicality.
The former Haryana minister was denied anticipatory bail on Friday on the ground that the petition was not filed by the person who apprehended arrest. Justice P K Bhasin, in his order, observed that the accused "appears to be sitting comfortably somewhere without any apprehension of his arrest by the police" and that his brother Govind had filed the anticipatory bail application on his behalf without any proper authorisation.
Mr Kanda will now have to wait till Tuesday to file a bail plea in Supreme Court.
On Thursday, a trial court had issued a non-bailable warrant against the former Haryana minister; Delhi Police had to arrest the politician before August 24, failing which he would have been declared an absconder.
Ten teams of the Delhi Police have raided and searched many places in Haryana, Delhi, UP, and even Sikkim and Goa, but failed to trace Mr Kanda.
Mr Kanda`s lawyers had moved the High Court after the trial court rejected his application for anticipatory bail on August 9.
Arguing against bail for Mr Kanda the police told the High Court that it needs the politician`s custody for interrogation and to confront him with his employee Aruna Chaddha, who too is accused of abetting Ms Sharma`s suicide and was arrested after questioning on August 8. Her remand in judicial custody was extended by 14 days on Thursday.
Geetika Sharma hanged herself at her Delhi home on August 5. In her suicide note she named both Mr Kanda and Ms Chaddha. Her family says Mr Kanda had been harassing her for a while now. Before he went missing, Mr Kanda had emphatically denied harassing Ms Sharma, who had worked in several of his companies in the last six years.
The Delhi Police has told the High Court that both the accused had been pressuring Ms Sharma for a number of years to ensure that she continued to work with Mr Kanda`s MDLR group of companies; they even visited Dubai when Ms Sharma was working with an airline there, to coerce her to return, the police has alleged.
It has told the High Court that it has prima facie evidence against Mr Kanda and Ms Chaddha, who have been charged with abetment to suicide and criminal intimidation of Ms Sharma. The police has said in court that it suspects that the former Haryana minister is destroying evidence.
The police has also found out that Geetika Sharma`s Facebook account, which was active after her death, has since been deactivated. While Ms Sharma`s family claims they didn`t have Geetika`s password, the police suspect that someone close to Mr Kanda could have done this.
Police sources say Ms Chaddha had passwords to the Facebook accounts of several employees of the now defunct MDLR Airlines, which was owned by Mr Kanda and where Ms Sharma worked as a flight attendant. Though Ms Chaddha has denied this, sources say, the police have now asked cyber experts to probe this.
BDST: 0846 HRS, AUG 18, 2012
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