Court again rejects cops’ plea for Chaddha’s custody (Lead)

August 21st, 2012 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) A Delhi court Tuesday rejected a fresh police plea for the custody of Aruna Chaddha, an accused in former flight attendant Geetika Sharma’s suicide, and ordered a probe into the leak of the victim’s autopsy report to media.

Chaddha will remain in judicial custody till Aug 30.

Metropolitan Magistrate Devender Kumar Jangala rejected the Delhi Police plea for the second time in two days.

Police sought the custody of Chaddha, an official of the now-defunct MDLR Airlines where Geetika was employed, to bring her face-to-face with co-accused Gopal Goyal Kanda, her employer and Haryana’s former minister.

Police told the court that Chaddha was misleading the investigators and the statement given during her custodial interrogation was found contradictory.

They said that she claimed that she joined Kanda’s group in 2006 but documents showed that she was appointed in 2004 as general manager.

“No facts regarding contradictory statement given by Chaddha were brought on the record,” the court said.

The court dismissed the police plea seeking Chaddha’s custody and said: “The investigating officer has failed to disclose any fresh and cogent reason for the grant of further police custody of the accused Aruna.”

The facts and circumstances and material brought on record did not warrant the grant of police custody at this stage, said Magistrate Jangala.

The court also directed joint commissioner of police, northern range, to conduct an inquiry into the publication of a media report on the post-mortem examination report of Geetika.

“It has come to the notice of the court that the findings of the post-mortem report of Geetika, which were very personal in nature, were published in the media despite of the sealed cover,” the court said.

Magistrate Jangala said: “Therefore, I direct the joint commissioner of police to ensure that in future such report is not leaked to anyone.”

“The joint commissioner of police is directed to conduct an inquiry regarding the leak of this report to the media and file his report within seven days in the court,” the magistrate said.

Police told the court that a warrant purportedly issued in Dubai was sent to Geetika through an email identity created by Shivroop. It was forwarded by Chaddha.

The court was told that a property owned by Kanda in Gurgoan was registered in the name of Geetika’s father. The registry was cancelled later.

Chaddha’s counsel Kapil Shankla opposed the police plea for her custody saying that she could not be handed over to them for confronting her with Kanda, who is in police custody.

She was arrested Aug 8 and remained in police custody till Aug 16. She was later sent to judicial custody till Aug 30.

Police moved an application for Chaddha’s custody Monday as well. That plea was also rejected by the court. The investigators said they wanted to interrogate her in connection with two computer hard disks recovered after Kanda’s arrest Aug 18.

Geetika, 23, accused Kanda and Chaddha of harassing her and forcing her to commit suicide. She died on the night of Aug 4-5 at her house in north Delhi’s Ashok Vihar. Both Kanda and Chaddha have denied the allegations.

Charges of criminal intimidation and abetment to suicide were slapped on Kanda and Chaddha over the suicide.

Kanda owned the MDLR Airlines where Geetika worked as a flight attendant. After the airlines ceased to function in 2009, she was given a job in another company owned by him.

According to Geetika’s brother, his sister was being constantly mentally harassed by Kanda and Chaddha. Kanda resigned from the Haryana ministry after Geetika’s suicide.

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