Gopal Goyal Kanda, the Haryana minister who resigned after a young woman named him in her suicide note earlier this week, says cellphone records will show that he has not spoken to her for the last two months. That, he says, will establish that he could not have played any sort of role in her death. Geetika Sharma, who had worked for him at an airline that he owned and ran, named MDLR, hung herself at her home in Delhi on Saturday night. (Read: Geetika Sharma's final note)
After the police charged him of abetment to suicide, Mr Kanda, quit as Minister of State for Home in the Congress government in Haryana. Today, new charges of criminal intimidation were registered against him - Ms Sharma's family has accused him of threatening them, and has been granted police security as a result. With many wondering why Mr Kanda has not yet been questioned, a senior police officer said today, "We are only going to question him after we have collected all evidence. We want to have an exact understanding of the case and his role."
Ms Sharma's relatives have handed over her laptop to the police, along with what they describe as a threatening email sent to her by the politician.
Mr Kanda has confirmed that he knew Ms Sharma's family and "occasionally visited" their house with his wife. But he says that Ms Sharma, who was 23, was well-treated when she worked with MDLR, which is now defunct.
From 2006 to 2009, Ms Sharma flew with MDLR. When the company went under, she moved to the UAE to fly with Emirates Airlines. She returned to India in 2011 and joined another company owned by Mr Kanda, Super Sonic, which deals with cables. In May this year, she quit her job there because she wanted to study. Mr Kanda says his firm gave her 7.5 lakhs to enrol for an MBA.
Ms Sharma's family alleges that when she was in the UAE, she was harassed and blackmailed by Mr Kanda and Aruna Chaddha, one of his senior executives, to return to Delhi and work for him.
Mr Kanda says the air hostess approached him for a job, not the other way around.
"We heard that she took a job with the Emirates. She returned after eight months or so and appeared to be disturbed. She requested us for a job in our company again and we accommodated her on the basis of her good track record," Mr Kanda said in a statement emailed to the media.
Mr Kanda, who is 47, is a wealthy businessman who started out as a footwear manufacturer, and whose business interests today include real estate and hospitality. He formed a political affinity with the Congress in 2005 after the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the party headed by the Chautalas, was voted out of power.
Once a Chautala insider, Mr Kanda began eyeing the Congress for his political future. After failing to get a INLD ticket in 2009, he contested the assembly election as an independent from Sirsa, and won the Chautala stronghold, defeating Laxman Dass Arora, a man who had won the constituency five times.(Gopal Goyal Kanda: Politics, wealth, and criminal cases)
The Haryana assembly has 90 seats; the Congress had 40, less than the half-way mark, so independents like Mr Kanda were needed to form the government. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda rewarded him with the Home portfolio- particularly useful for him since he had three major cases pending against him including a case of rioting with a weapon, and voluntarily "causing hurt to deter (a) public servant from duty."
In 2010, he was caught on camera abusing INLD workers at a Congress rally in Sirsa. In July 2011, his security guards assaulted former cricketer Atul Wassan when his car tried to overtake Mr Kanda's at the Gurgaon toll plaza.