Monday, December 21, 2009
And justice for all???
After 19 years, former Haryana top cop jailed for molesting minor
Mon, Dec 21 06:13 PM
Chandigarh, Dec 21 (IANS) Former Haryana director general of police (DGP) S.P.S. Rathore was Monday sentenced to six months in prison in a 1990 case of molesting 14-year-old budding tennis player Ruchika Girhotra who committed suicide three years later.
Rathore was allowed bail by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court special judge J.S. Sidhu immediately after his sentencing.
The former DGP can now appeal before a higher court against the CBI court order. Sources close to Rathore said that he would appeal against his sentencing.
'The sentence is very less even though we are happy that he (Rathore) has been found guilty and sentenced by the court,' said retired Haryana government official Anand Prakash, whose daughter was the lone eyewitness to the Aug 12, 1990 molestation of Girhotra in Haryana's Panchkula town, 10 km from here.
Girhotra committed suicide three years after the incident in 1993 following continuous mental harassment of her and her family to pressurize them to withdraw the case against the Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.
Prakash said that the CBI court had failed to include the charge of abetment to suicide against Rathore, due to which he got a lesser term despite being held guilty.
Rathore was a deputy inspector general (DIG) of police at that time and was charged of molesting the minor girl in his office, when president of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA) in Panchkula.
Despite the molestation case against him, which was later probed by the CBI and was closely monitored by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Rathore not only managed to escape punishment for over 19 years but was promoted all along by successive governments in Haryana till he became DGP (Oct 1999-Dec 2000).
A case was registered after much delay against Rathore for the molestation after Anuradha, then a teenaged friend of Ruchika who had seen the victim being molested, filed a complaint with the police through her parents. Both were budding tennis players when the molestation incident happened
Anuradha, 32 and now married, specially flew to India from Australia this month to be here when the judgment against Rathore came.
'Had he (Rathore) been punished earlier, Ruchika would have been amongst us,' Anand Prakash, who claimed that the Haryana police and other officials did everything to harass him, his daughter and family to withdraw the case against Rathore, said.
'Now that the court has held him guilty, we will approach the high court against those officials who played a part with him,' he added.
Rathore was represented in his trial by his wife, Abha Rathore, and other lawyers.
Ruchika's family was harassed so much in their Panchkula home that they shifted to an undisclosed location in neighbouring Punjab after her death.
Indo Asian News Service