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Women’s commission issues notice to Punjab govt in 23-yr-old molestation case

PTI | New Delhi |

The National Commission for Women has written to the Punjab government and summoned a senior police officer in a 23-year-old case of abduction and molestation of a French tourist, allegedly involving the grandson of former chief minister Beant Singh.

Katia Darnand, a French national, had accused Gurkirat Singh Kotli, grandson of then chief minister Beant Singh, and others of abducting and molesting her in 1994. But all the accused were acquitted on April 10, 1999 as Darnand did not return to testify against the accused. “We have issued a notice to the Punjab government as well as summoned the DCP to give us an explanation. This is in response to a petition asking us to reopen the case because it was very shoddily conducted,” said NCW chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam.

The petition was submitted by Delhi BJP councillor Gurjeet Kaur and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Parminder Singh Brar. “The complainant, Gurjeet Kaur, appealed to the Commission to reopen the case and order a fresh trial saying appropriate sections of IPC were not included in the case against former CM Beant Singh’s grandson Gurkirat Kotli who attacked, kidnapped, molested and probably raped Katia Darnand on the fateful day of August 31, 1994,” according to a press statement from the SAD.In an open letter in a national daily last month, Darnand recounted the horror and wrote that she still felt the injustice that allowed the accused to be acquitted even though she had identified them all.

She also referred to the recent case in Chandigarh where Varnika Kundu, the daughter of an IAS officer, was allegedly stalked by Vikas Barala, the son of the Haryana BJP chief.