Jasaur Kheri: At Jasaur Kheri village in Haryana’s Jhajjar district, neighbours of Naveen Kumar wonder if employees of a finance company have turned up looking for him. “Personnel from a finance company keep coming here frequently,” says one.
Outside Kumar’s home, several knocks go unanswered. It’s only after a while that his mother emerges. She then explains her apprehension to open the door. Her son, she says, has told the family not to speak to the media ever since a media house published a photograph of her.
Kumar has also been staying away from the village after being sucked into a controversy engulfing the country’s apex judicial office — that of the Chief Justice of India (CJI). He is the complainant in a cheating case filed against the former Supreme Court staffer who has accused CJI Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment.
Kumar, 31, has alleged that the woman took Rs 50,000 from him after promising him a government job. Although the job didn’t materialise, she allegedly didn’t return the money and, instead, threatened him.
An FIR was filed against the woman in a Delhi police station on 3 March, with the Delhi Police now seeking cancellation of her bail.
Kumar’s mother, however, said that the family only learnt of the FIR two weeks ago.
“We got to know about the FIR and the entire matter only a fortnight ago,” she said. “These people are quite powerful; they can easily frame us even if we withdraw the FIR. But we are unable to convince our son to withdraw the case. Several other people have also threatened my son to withdraw the case.”
It’s a pattern throughout the conversation as the mother never refers to the woman or utters her name, instead continually saying “those people” or “powerful people”.
She does, though, state that the CJI case may have had a bearing on her son’s decision to file the FIR.
“The business of fleecing people in the name of government job is going on at several places here. This matter is also the same,” she says. “That woman alone cannot be blamed. But there is a possibility that some people pressured Naveen to file an FIR against her after she got involved in the controversy related to the CJI. Naveen is not capable of doing this on his own.”
‘Simple, straightforward man’
At Jasaur Kheri, Kumar, known as Rinku here, has a reputation of being a “simple, straightforward” young man.
“Naveen is a very simple lad,” says one neighbour. “He is too straightforward to cross paths even with any of the villagers. The entire family (kunba) is like that. They have lost around Rs 50,000. They might have arranged this money as a loan with interest.”
The family’s home is just 500 metres from that of Pradeep Deswal, the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) candidate for the Rohtak parliamentary constituency.
Kumar’s father is a truck driver in Madhya Pradesh while his wife and mother are involved in the sewing business. The family also owns a buffalo. Only the mother, Kumar’s wife and his child are at home.
The mother says that Kumar works in a company in Bahadurgarh and has recently shifted to Chandigarh.
She says the media attention has been distressing and asks for her identity to be concealed.
And if villagers are to be believed, Naveen’s family was under tremendous pressure to file the FIR, which has now catapulted them into national headlines.