Ex-Haryana Minister, aide accused of driving her to suicide

The Delhi Police on Saturday chargesheeted the former Haryana Minister, Gopal Goyal Kanda, and his aide Aruna Chaddha accusing them of allegedly abetting the suicide of air hostess Geetika Sharma through “malicious and wilful acts of mental torture, threat, blackmail and stress” and criminal intimidation spread over two years that forced the 23-year-old to end her life.

The police alleged that Geetika’s appointment, rapid promotion and strange service conditions despite her being under-aged and inadequately qualified showed that Mr. Kanda had ‘evil designs’ on her right from the first day and that the “undue favours were given with the intention of entrapping her.”

Mr. Kanda was also charged with criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence, and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and sending offensive messages under the Information Technology Act. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate D.K. Jangala took cognisance of the charge sheet and listed the matter for scrutiny of documents on October 9.

“Malicious act”

The charge sheet alleged that Geetika committed suicide as a result of the “malicious and wilful acts of mental torture, threat, blackmail and stress [upon her] by the accused persons which created a situation that instigated her to commit suicide. These acts of both accused persons tantamount to provocation and instigation of Geetika to end her life.”

It also accused Mr. Kanda and Ms. Chaddha of “harassing, conspiring, intimidating and creating an atmosphere of terror and continuous pursuit.”

The charge sheet alleges several instances of criminal intimidation on the part of Mr. Kanda. Among the situations listed in the charge sheet is a case that Geetika lodged against a colleague, Ankita Singh, in October 2009, which Mr. Kanda allegedly pressured her to withdraw.

The accused also allegedly levelled baseless charges of forgery, cheating and fraud against her, forcing her to leave a “respectable” job in Dubai in 2010. Besides, the “traumatic experience” of an abortion she underwent in March 2012, a property that Mr. Kanda had allegedly helped in getting allotted to her father was cancelled, two days prior to her death, on August 3.

Admission fees paid by Mr. Kanda for a course that Geetika had joined was sought back and she was also threatened with implication in a false case, the night before her death.

“By sending forged and false e-mails and by making Geetika use forged No-Objection Certificate when she left MDLR [which she had no reason to suspect to be forged] and joined Emirates Airlines, Gopal Kanda had created an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust around Geetika in which she was not able to hold her head high and face her colleagues. She resigned to save her dignity… She rightly feared that she would be viewed with suspicion and distrust by her colleagues, friends and future employers and becoming extremely distressed and depressed, she decided to end her life by hanging herself,” the charge sheet said.

As evidence of the intimidation and forgery, the police have also included in the charge sheet a crude, badly phrased email allegedly sent at the behest of Mr. Kanda to Geetika, threatening her with extradition to Dubai, after she returned from Dubai in October 2010, but refused to rejoin MDLR. The e-mail warned her that an “order for extradition” had been issued against her by a Dubai court and that if she did not reply in a week “the consequence would not be good for her” and that she would be extradited to Dubai with the help of Indian authorities. The email also warned her against fleeing to other countries saying: “We will make sure you will not leave your country…”

The police have also pointed out Geetika’s attempt to fight back against the intimidation by writing to a Ministry of External Affairs official. The police said the sole aim of the accused was to make her submit to his “illegal and lustful wishes.”

Cellphones destroyed

The police also alleged that Mr. Kanda’s “criminal intention” to avoid accountability was evident by his use of two SIM cards taken from two MDLR employees to make his calls. The police said that while two mobile phones were destroyed by the accused prior to his arrest, it has recovered one mobile phone and two computer CPUs which have been sent for forensic analysis.