M A I N   N E W S

Barnala’s son held on rape charge
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Gaganjit Singh Barnala, the sitting Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) MLA from Dhuri and son of Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, was arrested tonight by the Chandigarh Police on a charge of rape.

Confirming his arrest to The Tribune, Chandigarh SSP Gaurav Yadav said Gaganjit Singh had been arrested under Section 376 of the IPC on the statement of the victim, who had been working in his house as a masseur for the past six to seven months. Gaganjit was arrested from his official residence — Number 57, MLA Flats, Sector 3 — after the case was registered against him in the Sector 3 police station.

The fortyfive-year-old victim belongs to West Bengal and is a divorcee. She was rushed to Government Hospital in Sector 16 in a critical state and had lost excessive blood. After being declared fit to give a statement by doctors, she told women constables that she had gone to the MLA hostel residence of Gaganjit in routine this morning, when he allegedly raped her. The victims is a resident of Naya Gaon on the outskirts of Chandigarh.

The SSP told The Tribune that the incident happened this afternoon. He said, “The wife of Gaganjit — Harpreet Kaur — has signed the consent form which was needed before operating the victim. She was brought to the hospital by the personal security officer of Gaganjit and was admitted to the hospital at 2.30 pm. Her medical examination has established a vaginal tear of 2.5 cm. We have also videographed the victim and recorded her statement. She has said that she was raped and also that she used the vest of Gaganjit to clean her blood after the incident took place. We have recovered the vest and sealed it, besides collecting the vaginal swabs for DNA analysis. We are also collecting other evidence and will produce Gaganjit in court tomorrow.”

Chandigarh DSP S.S. Randhawa, who was present at the General Hospital, Sector 16, when the victim was being videographed, said Gaganjit’s wife was in the other room when the alleged rape took place.

Gaganjit is married and has a son and a daughter. He had once led an armed brigade to take on militants who had entered the Golden Temple complex when his father was the Chief Minister of Punjab. Following the incident, he met with a serious accident. He then immigrated to Australia before returning to Punjab to join active politics.

In 2002, Gaganjit won the Dhuri seat on the SAD (B) ticket with a margin of 1,559 votes over Mr Iqbal of the SAD (Amritsar). He is now full time into politics, and is a member of the Vidhan Sabha’s Committee on Estimates and Committee on Questions and References. 




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