M A I N   N E W S

Ruchika case to be re-probed
Govt mulls new charges against Rathore

New Delhi, December 29
The government today said it was contemplating whether to appeal for enhancing punishment for former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore in the Ruchika molestation case or to charge him and others afresh with abetment of suicide.

“There are two points on which we are thinking. The first is to appeal for an enhanced punishment for the accused under Section 354 of the IPC (molestation). The second point is whether to start fresh investigations to see whether Rathore and others could be charged for abetment of suicide under Section 305 or 306 of IPC,” Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said this evening here.

He said Ruchika was forced out of the school and her brother Ashu handcuffed and kept in police custody for two months.

“These are the circumstances that led to the suicide (of Ruchika). There are lots of people involved,” he said.

Asked whether others, including police officers and school authorities, would also be charged with abetting Ruchika's suicide, Moily said “yes”. He pointed out that while Section 305 of the IPC dealt with abetment of a suicide of a minor, Section 306 dealt with abetment of suicide of a major.

“Under Section 305, the punishment is either life imprisonment or death and under Section 306 the maximum punishment is 10 years imprisonment,” he added. “We will see whether she was a minor or a major when she committed suicide,” he added.

The Law Minister said that after going through the case, he felt the investigation was based only on the charge of molestation and not abetment of suicide. Moily said he had already spoken to the Solicitor-General and the Ministry would take a final call after going through the details.

Terming the Ruchika case as “a model case,” he said the government would ensure nobody ever abused law or bent it to his or her favour using power.

He said he had asked law officers to draft a Sexual Offences (Special Courts) Bill to fast-track cases of sexual offences, which would stipulate that investigation in such cases be completed within six months or a year. “The investigation should not go beyond a year. In any case, the investigation should not go beyond two years,” he added.

TNS adds: Former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore may be booked for charges like obstruction of justice, misuse of official position and also for attempts to bribe CBI officials. Such offences can be slapped on him even now in view of the recent revelations. The Ministries of Law and Home are now combining inputs to see what more charges can be pressed against Rathore. Sources said the scope was being studied. Some things may be “time-barred”. However, the real issue is the abetment to suicide. The CBI had opposed the imposition of Section 306 of the IPC in a trial court, despite Anand Prakash, a family friend of Ruchika’s, having filed an application.

The lower court allowed imposition of abetment to suicide against Rathore, who then appealed in the Punjab and Haryana High court which upheld his appeal. It is being examined if the CBI can still appeal against the High Court order in Supreme Court. Is the matter time-barred ? This question will be answered in the next couple of days, said sources. It is being seen what can be done to examine the role of the CBI officials who had not wanted to impose abetment to suicide against Rathore. Facts of misusing his official position are also being verified.

Sources in the government said if the former joint director of CBI, RM Singh records his statement under Section 161 of the CrPC, Rathore can be booked for attempt to bribe a government servant. RM Singh has been quoted in the newspapers as having said that Rathore tried to bribe him when the case was on. Separately, other facts like obstruction of justice are also known.

The Home Ministry has also called in Ruchika Girhotra’s lawyer Pankaj Bhardawaj for consultations in the Home Ministry. Sources in the Home Ministry said Bhardawaj, is expected to come tomorrow. He will be meeting officials here. The plan of the Ministry is to know what kind of record he has on alleged fabrications in the case at several stages.The lawyer has been quoted in the media as having said that false cases were slapped against Ruchika's brother Ashu and the family was harassed and victimised at Rathore's behest.



Fresh FIR against ex-DGP, 3 cops
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 29
Succumbing to increasing pressure from all corners, the Panchkula police today booked four persons, including former state Director General of Police Shambhu Partap Singh Rathore for attempt to murder, illegal detention and forging the documents in connection with the Ruchika murder and suicide case. Sub-inspector Prem Dutt and assistant sub-inspectors Jai Narayan and Sewa Singh are the others accused against whom the cases have been registered.

Incidentally, the FIR against Rathore and other accused comes on the 16th death anniversary of Ruchika, who had allegedly committed suicide on December 29, 1993.

The cases were registered against Rathore and other police officials, after Ruchika’s father, Subhash Chander Girhotra, and his son Ashu lodged two separate complaints with the Panchkula SP today.

Anand Prakash, father of Ruchika’s friend Aradhana, with his lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj submitted the applications on behalf of the complainants. Girhotra, in his application, demanded registration of cases against Rathore and others under Section 307 (attempt to murder), 182 (false information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person), 195A (threatening a person to give false evidence) of the IPC.

Similarly, Ashu, in his complaint, sought an FIR against Rathore and others, alleging that they all not only connived to keep him in illegal detention bus also forged the records to legitimise their actions.

Substantiating his charges, Ashu said on October 25, 1993, he was picked up by the police from Panchkula and was taken to various police stations, including the building of the CIA staff. There he was subjected to third-degree torture in the presence of Rathore, who kept on hurling abuses on him, while the police personnel thrashed him brutally.“I was made to raise my hands up and down in front of Rathore,” alleged Ashu in his application.

SP Maneesh Chaudhary confirmed that cases have been registered against the accused.



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