A Delhi court on Tuesday acquitted Haryana MLA Gopal Kanda in the 2012 suicide case of a former air hostess of his now-defunct MDLR Airlines.
Kanda, a second-time legislator from Haryana’s Sirsa Assembly constituency, of Haryana was acquitted by the Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court in connection with the 23-year old air hostess Geetika Sharma’s death by suicide case. The court also acquitted his aide Aruna Chadha.
The court held that the prosecution failed to prove the charges beyond all reasonable doubts. The court also asked Kanda to submit Rs 1 lakh in personal bond and remain present if the police filed an appeal against his acquittal. Following his acquittal, Kanda said that the case against him was political and there was no evidence against him.
Kanda and Chadha faced multiple charges
Kanda and Chadha were booked in August 2012 after Sharma was found dead on August 5, 2012 at her residence in Ashok Vihar, northwest Delhi. A suicide note found at the residence stated she was ending her life because of Kanda and Chadha’s “harassment”.
While Chadha was arrested, Kanda surrendered soon after. The two faced charges under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 506 (criminal intimidation), 201 (destruction of evidence) of IPC, and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
After the court dropped charges of rape (section 376) and unnatural offences (377) of IPC, he was granted regular bail on the grounds that Chadha had been granted bail a month earlier.
Who was Geetika Sharma?
Geetika, who worked as air hostess at Kanda’s now-defunct MDLR Airlines, was elevated as director of one of his companies. After six months of death, Sharma’s mother Anuradha Sharma, a retired accountant in the finance ministry, also died of suicide. Their family alleged that “the heartbreak and harassment by the court and police was the reason behind her death”.
Kanda, a footwear trader-turned owner of an airline company, had won his first assembly poll in 2009 as an independent candidate when he had lent support to Congress and was given a ministerial berth. He was removed from the Cabinet following Sharma’s suicide.
In 2019, he contested as a Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) candidate and won again. He is currently an MLA from the Sirsa Assembly seat supporting the ruling BJP-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) government.