M A I N   N E W S

Ruchika Molestation Case
Rathore arrested, sent to jail
Sentence enhanced to 18 months
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 25
Former Haryana Director General of Police, S.P.S. Rathore(68), was today arrested and sent to Jail after the Additional District and Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh, dismissed his appeal against conviction for molesting a teenaged girl, Ruchika Girhotra, in 1990.

The court also enhanced his sentence to 18 months. A special CBI court had in December, 2009 sentenced him to six months in prison. While dismissing Rathore’s appeal against the conviction, the court upheld the appeals filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation as well as the family of the victim pleading for the maximum permissible punishment, two years of Rigorous Imprisonment, provided in the Indian Penal Code.

Denied permission

Abha Rathore, who was earlier seen running from pillar to post in the district courts to obtain a copy of the order long after her husband had been taken to the Model Jail in Burail, was later denied permission to meet him in prison. Jail authorities denied her permission to meet her husband saying that the ‘meeting time’ was over. Abha was reportedly carrying with her a bag containing a tooth brush, some medicines and a set of clothes. She handed over the bag to the jail staff and left.

In the barracks

The Additional Inspector-General (Prisons) of the Model Jail Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa told TNS that Rathore would be lodged in normal barracks among other criminals. “He will not be given any special treatment”, he added. Soon after he was taken to the Model Jail, Rathore complained of uneasiness. A team of specialists from the Sector 16 Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH) examined him and declared his condition to be “normal” and that he did not have to be hospitalised.

The court took barely three minutes around 2.30 pm to deliver the order. While the judgement on Rathore’s conviction on December 21 was 97 pages, the one on the verdict today is surprisingly 103 pages.

The atmosphere in the packed courtroom was electric as the accused and his counsel, his wife Abha Rathore, entered the courtroom a little after 2 pm. The suspense continued for the next 20 to 25 minutes till the judge came in and pronounced the short judgment.

“ The appeal of the accused against his conviction stands dismissed. Both, the appeal filed by the victim’s family and the CBI stands allowed.

The court sentences the accused to one and a half years of rigorous imprisonment,” said Gurbir Singh.

Following the direction that he be taken into custody immediately, Rathore was sent to the local Model Burail Jail about an hour after pronouncement of the judgment.

As soon as the sentence was pronounced, Abha Rathore moved an application stating that Rathore was not well and was undergoing treatment at the department of cardiology at the PGI. She also said that Rathore had an appointment for 4 pm with his doctor today. Stating medical reasons, Abha requested the court not to send him immediately to jail as he has undergone a heart surgery recently.

The special CBI prosecutor C S Sharma maintained that there would be no problem for Rathore in jail as all medical and healthcare facilities were available in the model jail with a doctor always on call.

A combative Abha Rathore reacted immediately saying that it seemed that the CBI counsel was unaware of the risks involved. Rathore, who was standing next to her, also addressed the judge and produced his PGI Out Patient Department (OPD) Card.

The court, however, maintained that Rathore was to be sent to jail immediately and that it was forwarding the application to the jail superintendent who would be the deciding authority on whether or not Rathore needed to keep his appointment at the PGI today. Earlier on May 20, the court had deferred the verdict on the plea that the judgment was a lengthy one. Ruchika Girhotra was molested by S P S Rathore on August 11, 1990. She committed suicide three years later in December 1993, allegedly after her family was incessantly harassed by the police. The court had heard arguments on day-to-day basis from May 3-11 on the appeals. The proceedings were held in camera.





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