Former Haryana minister Gopal Kanda was acquitted on July 25 in a case of abetment of suicide of air hostess Geetika Sharma. Co-accused Aruna Chadha was also acquitted, as Special Judge Vikas Dhull pointed out that the prosecution failed to prove the charges beyond all reasonable doubts.
The judge told the duo to submit ₹1 lakh in personal bond and remain present if the police filed an appeal against their acquittal.
Who was Geetika Sharma?
Geetika joined the cabin crew of Kanda’s aviation firm MDLR Airlines in August 2008. After MDLR stopped its operations, Kanda made her the group coordinator, MDLR group of companies, with its office in Gurgaon.
August 5, 2012: Geetika Sharma found hanging at her Delhi home. Suicide note recovered, which accused Haryana's then minister of state for home affairs Gopal Kanda and his HR department employee Aruna Chadha of harassment. Police file a case of abetment to suicide against Kanda, forcing him to resign as minister.
August 7, 2012: Police issue notice asking Kanda to join the investigation. But Kanda denies involvement.
August 8, 2012: Police say Kanda is missing as he files an anticipatory bail plea. MDLR manager Aruna Chadha arrested.
August 9, 2012: Police issue a lookout notice for Kanda, and search his residence.
August 17, 2012: Delhi High Court denies anticipatory bail.
August 18, 2012: Kanda surrenders at Ashok Vihar police station.
February 15, 2013: Geetika’s mother Anuradha Sharma, a retired accountant in the finance ministry, found hanging in the same room as her daughter. In her suicide note, she accused Kanda and Chadha of compelling her to end her life.
May 27, 2013: Trial begins as court records statements of eight witnesses. Kanda and Chadha challenge the charges before the Delhi HC
July 25, 2013: Delhi HC drops the charges of rape and unnatural sex.
September 5, 2013: A Delhi court grants interim bail to Kanda till October 4, 2013, after 13 months in jail.
October 4, 2013: The court dismisses plea to extend Kanda’s bail.
December 6, 2013: The trial court initiates a new trial against Kanda for abetment to suicide.
March 4, 2014: Delhi HC quashes the sexual exploitation charges against Kanda. He is released on bail soon after.
May 26, 2014: Delhi HC dismisses two pleas seeking cancellation of bail granted by the trial court.
October 19, 2014: INLD's Makhan Lal Singla defeats Kanda in assembly elections from Sirsa constituency.
October 24, 2019: Kanda defeats Gokul Setia, an Independent, in the assembly elections from Sirsa constituency.
July 18, 2023: BJP lists Kanda’s Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) among 38 parties identified as constituents of the NDA and is invited to the ruling alliance’s meeting in New Delhi.
July 25, 2023: Kanda and Chadha acquitted of abetment of suicide, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence, and forgery.