Haryana ex-minister Kanda goes into hiding

Former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda, who was summoned by Delhi police in the Geetika Sharma suicide case, went into hiding on Wednesday after he failed to appear before investigators for questioning.

“He failed to appear today (Wednesday) and is untraceable. We have sent four teams to Gurgaon and other places, including his native town, to bring him to join investigation,” deputy commissioner of police (north-west) P Karunakaran told Deccan Herald.

Kanda, who was minister of state for Home, Urban Bodies and Industry and Commerce in Haryana government, had resigned from all departments after a former air hostess with Kanda’s defunct MDLR airline, 23-year-old Geetika Sharma was found dead on Sunday at her Ashok Vihar residence in north-west Delhi.

Geetika Sharma in her two-page suicide stated that Kanda and his company’s Human Resources Manager Aruna Chadda was behind her extreme step to taking life and they used to mentally harass and cheated her.

Earlier in the day, Kanda’s lawyer approached police and sought three days for his appearance, citing they need time to study the documents sent by investigators. Police refused his request and asked him to appear immediately, after which the former minister went into hiding.

Kanda’s MDLR Group human resources manager Aruna Chaddha and the company’s legal advisor Ankit Ahluwalia, along with eight employees of the company, were grilled on Wednesday. Chaddha’s statements were “very ambiguous”, said the police, who arrested her after questioning her.

From morning onwards, Kanda’s employees were being grilled at Keshavpuram police station, and were also confronted with each other. The other eight employees of the company were called in to join investigation as the police wanted to know all about the company’s dealings and Kanda’s relationship with Geetika.

Police have also detained Kanda’s company employee Mandeep, who turned into witness, after police found that Kanda was using three SIM cards to converse with the deceased Geetika Sharma in issued in the name of Mandeep.

Police on Tuesday filed a fresh case under Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the India Penal Code against Kanda. Police added the charge after Geetika’s mother, Anuradha Sharma, mentioned in the FIR that on August 4 she had spoken to Kanda over telephone and he confirmed that Aruna wanted Geetika to sign some documents, failing which a case would be registered against her daughter with Haryana police.

Geetika’s mother also alleged that Kanda sent an email under a fictitious identity of a Gurgaon station house officer to Emirates Airlines when Geetika was working there in 2010, following which the airline sacked her.

When she and her family members came to know about Kanda’s hand behind the sacking incident, he came to her house and apologised for it and promised to make Geetika to make director of MDLR Airline.

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