Tuesday, September 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

DGP Rathore writes to CBI chief
Alleges factionalism among cops
From Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

GURGAON, Sept 18 — The rivalry and internecine struggle in the top echelons of Haryana police, including present and former Director-Generals and a number of senior IPS officers from the state and Punjab, has been, for the first time put on record by the incumbent Director-General of Police of Haryana, Mr S.P.S. Rathore to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The development confirms the Haryana police force has been plagued with factionalism and brinkmanship by senior IPS officers, apparently to blot each others service records. The game appears to be so subtle and dangerous that if not checkmated forthwith it threatens to snowball into a major crisis. The correspondence of Mr Rathore to the CBI also reveals the repercussions on the force in the neighbouring state of Punjab.

According to authoritative sources, Mr Rathore has written a letter to the Director of the CBI, Mr R.K. Raghavan (IPS), raising objections on the method applied by the team of the premier agency while investigating into the allegations against him of molesting a girl, Ruchika, in Panchkula, in 1990. He has urged Mr Raghavan to hand over the investigation to officers of the CBI who may be from outside the states of Haryana and Punjab so that the investigation of the cases is carried out “impartially”.

At the outset, Mr Rathore has pointed out in the letter the persistent leakage to the Press of one-sided reports regarding the involvement of the accused was against the tenets of responsible investigation. He has expressed the view that such publicity has vitiated and would further vitiate the atmosphere even before the trial begins, in case the CBI recommends prosecution. The object of the leakages is twofold — to malign his reputation, and secondly, to prejudice the minds of the judiciary, he added.

Incidentally, Mr Rathore had himself opted for a CBI probe before the Punjab and Haryana High court in the allegations of molestation in 1997.

Mr Rathore pointed out to Mr Raghavan that it was an admitted fact that Ruchika had died more than three years after the alleged incident of molestation and her father had married and brought a stepmother in the family after the alleged occurrence and prior to the death. It was a case of poisoning at home. The name of the deceased was also changed from Ruchika to “Ruby” when she was admitted to the PGI by her father and stepmother. No member of the family of the deceased had ever made any complaint of harassment to any authority or court in the past 10 years.

In the inquest report the step mother and father of Ruchika stated she had consumed some pills/drugs on her own and that no one was responsible for her death. Three successive governments had probed the matter and had closed the case. This was in spite of the adverse report of the then DGP, Mr R.R. Singh into the case. Mr Rathore was also promoted subsequently. However, the father of the girl is reported to have now changed the statement he had made in the inquest report, saying that Ruchika was harassed which led to her suicide.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by a mother of Reemu, a friend of Ruchika in 1997. The high court ordered registration of a case against Mr Rathore after his appeal was turned down by the Supreme Court. The case was registered this year under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC. The report of Mr R.R. Singh formed one of the basis of the petitioner in the PIL.

In the letter to Mr Raghavan, Mr Rathore has pointed out that twice earlier also he had expressed apprehension to him over appointment of the officer holding the rank of IG and an officer holding the rank of an SP in the investigating team. He said his apprehension was based on account of their proximity to Mr R.R. Singh as also they belonged to the same community and the states of Haryana and Punjab. Also, the SP had been obligated to Ruchika’s grandfather, a former DSP in CBI at Ambala. The SP had worked under the grandfather as his subordinate, he added.

Mr Rathore has further alleged the SP had arranged a dinner meeting of the officers of the investigating team and another officer of the rank of DIG of the CBI (who is at present posted as IG with the Haryana police). The dinner meeting was organised at the police officers’ mess in Panchkula immediately before the commencement of the investigation by the CBI team. The alleged officer who is at present posted as IG with the Haryana police, has family relations with a private party, the complainant party and his rivals, he added.

According to him, the private party had been openly professing its closeness with his rivals, which includes another two former DGPs of Haryana. The private person even claimed that he was capable of eliminating him (Mr Rathore) and his family. Immediately after the aforesaid dinner meeting, it was common talk that offence of Section 354 of the IPC was already made out and only the offence under Section 306 of the IPC (abetment of suicide) required to be looked into by the CBI.

Mr Rathore further alleged the SP in the investigating team had shown total indulgence with the complainant party and allowed Anand Prakash, father of Reemu (“tutored witness”) to remain present at the time of the examination by the CBI team although it included a lady police officer. The SP, at his level has been examining and recording statements of witnesses in Ambala and Chandigarh which is in total violation of the high court’s orders, he added.

He further complained that the investigating officer did not supply him the questionnaire. His statement was also not shown to him nor read to him. Even witnesses had not been shown their statements nor they were read to them. Also, the investigating team had not examined the witnesses which would materially throw light on the character and conduct of the complainant party which was most relevant and permissible in law.

Narrating the sequence of events, Mr Rathore urged Mr Raghavan to draw his own conclusion whether molestation could ever be committed in the situation. First, the two girls had met him in broad daylight in a place open to public view and in presence of other persons in the immediate vicinity and during the short interregnum of a few seconds when Reemu left the office to call the coach.

Both the girls went away without complaining or any protest and did not report the matter to their parents or brother for three days.

Both the girls admittedly continued to play Tennis after the date of alleged molestation.

The girls parents made the first complaint to the police on August 8, 1990, and the Chief Minister on August 17, 1990, i.e. five days after the alleged incident, and after the suspension order on August 13, 1990 had been passed, on the written report of the coach on August 8, 1990.

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