Chandigarh: A Delhi court on Tuesday acquitted Haryana MLA Gopal Kanda of abetting the suicide 23-year-old Geetika Sharma, an air hostess of his now-defunct MDLR Airlines in 2012.
Kanda, a second-time legislator from Sirsa assembly constituency of Haryana, along with his aide Aruna Chadha, was acquitted by the Delhi’s Rouse Avenue court, which held that the prosecution failed to prove the charges beyond all reasonable doubt.
The court also asked Kanda to submit ₹1 lakh in personal bond and remain present if the police filed an appeal against his acquittal.
Victim's suicide note names MLA minister as accused
The two were booked in August 2012 after Sharma was found dead at her residence in Ashok Vihar, northwest Delhi, and a suicide note found at the residence that said she was ending her life because of Kanda and Chadha’s “harassment”.
Chadha was subsequently arrested, while 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).
Court drops rape charges
The court had later dropped charges of rape (section 376) and unnatural offences (377) of IPC and Kanda was granted regular bail on the grounds that Chadha had been granted bail a month earlier.
Sharma, who was later elevated as director of one of Kanda’s companies, was found dead at her residence on August 5, 2012, while her mother, Anuradha Sharma, a retired accountant in the finance ministry, committed suicide about six months later. The family alleged that “the heartbreak and harassment by the court and police was the reason behind her death”.
Gopal Kanda's political career
Kanda, a one-time footwear trader-turned owner of the 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 after the case was registered.
In 2019 he contested as a candidate of his Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) and won again and is currently MLA from Sirsa, supporting the ruling BJP-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) combine government.
Following his acquittal, Kanda said the case against him was political and there was no evidence against him.