Gopal Kanda hit the national headlines in 2012 after a young airhostess committed suicide naming him in her detailed letter. (Photo Credit: IANS File Photo)
Gopal Kanda, the strongman-turned-politician from Sirsa, is now seen as the ‘kingmaker’ in Haryana’s post-poll cliffhanger. With notorious run-ins with law, Kanda is the ‘man of controversies.’ Day after the Haryana Assembly Elections, many people are seething with outrage over the BJP’s probable political alliance with Kanda. Most noticeable among them is the dissenting voice within the BJP. Former Union Minister Uma Bharti has clearly taken a stand against Kanda, reminding the BJP that winning election doesn't absolve Kanda of his past issues. Kanda hit the national headlines in 2012 after a young airhostess committed suicide naming him in her detailed letter. In her suicide note, Geetika Sharma, 23-year-old airhostess, had said she was ending her life due to "harassment" by Kanda and his close aide, Aruna Chadha.
At present, Kanda is still facing trial in the airhostess suicide case. Sharma’s mother had also committed suicide six months later. She had also blamed Kanda and said that he and his aide’s action had forced to take this dastardly step. Kanda’s rags to riches tale has made him popular in Sirsa, his birthplace, cases against him notwithstanding. Born in 1956, Kanda is a school dropout. His father Murli Dhar Kanda is said to be close to INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala. It was this link that changed Gopal Kanda’s life. He did several odd jobs before hitting gold in 1999. Appointed as a minister in Chuatala’s Cabinet, Gopal Kanda made a killing in real estate business in Gurgaon.
From palatial houses to malls to airlines to filmmaking, Gopal Kanda almost did everything under the Sun. But after the 2012 suicide case, things went downhill for Kanda. He went underground for more than seven days evade arrest. Subsequently, Kanda surrendered before the police. He was charged with abetment of suicide, criminal conspiracy, forgery and offences under the IT Act for hacking computers and sending offensive or false messages. Later, he got bail and in 2014, the charge of rape was dropped by the Delhi High Court.
Kanda and his wife also face charges of tax evasion. According to Kanda’s 2009 affidavit, he owned assets of over Rs 60 crore and faced 10 cases of bounced cheques. In his affidavit for the 2019 election, Kanda has declared movable and immovable assets worth Rs 65.5 crore. His wife Saraswati Devi’s assets, according to the affidavit, total just over Rs 30 crore. At the same time, the couple has liabilities of Rs 78 crore.