Hours after the Delhi High Court rejected his plea for anticipatory bail in the Geetika Sharma suicide case, the absconding former Haryana Minister Gopal Goyal Kanda surrendered amid high drama at Ashok Vihar police station here early on Saturday. With his subsequent arrest ended a 10-day saga of unsuccessful raids by the Delhi Police, who had also questioned scores of people and issued a lookout notice in a bid to trace him.
Mr. Kanda, along with his associate Aruna Chadha, has been accused of abetting the suicide of his former employee Geetika Sharma who hanged herself on August 5, leaving behind a suicide note accusing the two of traumatising her.
Following his surrender, Mr. Kanda was produced before a Rohini court which sent him to seven days’ police custody. Earlier, his bail plea was rejected twice; once each by a Sessions court and the Delhi High Court. The latter had rejected his anticipatory bail plea on Friday. A Rohini court had also issued a non-bailable warrant against Mr. Kanda on Thursday.
Speculation about possible surrender by the former Minister was rife since Friday night as Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar tweeted that the police would get hold of Mr. Kanda very soon. A little later, Mr. Kanda’s brother Govind reached the Ashok Vihar police station with his supporters and told the police that his politician brother would surrender. The police, however, arrested Govind as he was wanted in a different case.
Govind’s arrest evoked immediate protests from his supporters who raised slogans against the Delhi Police. The drama continued till Mr. Kanda’s lawyers came and talked to the police.
A couple of hours later around 4 a.m., the former Minister himself arrived at the police station in a vehicle owned by a media organisation and surrendered himself.
The police subsequently arrested him.
Later in the day, when Mr. Kanda was produced before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) D.K. Jangala at the Rohini court, a large number of his supporters were present both within and outside the courtroom.
One of his supporters said that the former Minister was not absconding but he had made himself available after exhausting his legal remedy of applying for anticipatory bail.
Mr. Kanda’s counsel, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who also objected to the use of the word “absconder” for his client, said Mr. Kanda wanted to surrender but the Delhi Police took all precautions to prevent his client from doing so. “Yet we were successful. With the help of the media, we surrendered,” Mr. Gupta told the court.
During the hearing, Mr. Gupta said that the arrest of Aruna Chadha, soon after she joined the investigation, had also deterred his client from doing so as he was afraid that the police might arrest him as well.
Geetika’s uncle Sushil Sharma described the surrender as a “drama” planned by Mr. Kanda and said that the family was looking forward to the outcome of the case.