Ruchika case: Court reserves order on Rathore`s bail plea

Last Updated: Thursday, January 7, 2010 - 19:28

Panchkula/Chandigarh: A Panchkula court on Thursday
reserved till tomorrow its order on the anticipatory bail
plea of former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore in connection with two
fresh FIRs while notices were issued by the High Court on a
PIL for a "thorough" probe in the Ruchika molestation case.

The order was reserved by Additional District and
Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jindal after hearing arguments of Pankaj
Bhardwaj, the counsel for the Subash Girhotra family, and
Abha,lawyer wife of 67-year-old Rathore in a packed courtroom.

The charges in the two fresh FIRs against Rathore
included attempt to murder, wrongful confinement and forging
of the post-mortem report of 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra.

Arguing before the court, Abha said the FIRs registered
on December 29 were false and that they were filed under
"media presure". "Rathore is being targeted due to the media
hype" in the case.

"Media is describing Rathore as a molester, a monster and
an animal. Media is pronouncing its own judgement holding him
guilty and it appears that the media has taken over the
justice system," Rathore`s wife told the court.

"Even the government seems to be buckling under the media
pressure," Abha alleged and sought protection of her husband.

During the course of arguments, the Judge pulled up the
public prosecutor after the state sought more time to collect
evidence in the case. The Prosecutor sought three more weeks
time to collect evidence in the case.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court meanwhile issued
notices to the Centre, the state of Haryana, CBI and Rathore
on the PIL by a NGO seeking a thorough probe including the
circumstances leading to the suicide of Ruchika three years
after her molestation by Rathore. The notices issued by a
bench headed by Chief Justice Mukul Moudgil are returnable on
January 27.

The PIL filed by by an NGO Global Human Rights Council
also wanted the alleged hardships Ruchika`s family underwent
at the instance of Rathore to be probed.

At the Sessions Court, judge Jindal while pulling up the
state after it sought three more weeks time said, "Is the time
of six days not enough. You (the state) cannot shirk your
responsibility," the Judge remarked over the State`s delay.

Abha sought Rathore`s anticipatory bail in the new cases
levelling serious charges saying the issue of 306 under the
IPC (abetment to suicide) against him had already been
settled by the Supreme Court.

Bhardwaj submitted in the court that Rathore should be
arrested and thoroughly interrogated while in custody.

The State also informed the Court it had recommended to
the Centre that the two FIRs and the third one pertaining to
Section 306 (abetment to suicide) against Rathore and others
filed on Ashu`s complaint be handed over to the CBI.

Rathore`s counsel-wife pleaded that the Girhotra and
Anand Prakash family had been only levelling oral allegations
without any evidence to back it up.

Asserting that there was no truth in the allegations
that Ruchika`s brother Ashu was harassed, tortured and
implicated in false cases at Rathore`s behest, Abha told the
Court, "I challenge them that let them show a single
documentary evidence. Anyone can make false statements before
the TV (media). The law of the land has to protect its
citizens against such false statements," she argued.

Abha said Girhotra was convicted for corruption while
Anand Parkash, the husband of the main complainant Madhu
Parkash, (who are the parents of Aradhna -the sole witness to
the molestation) was prematurely retired from service
following corruption charges.

"They (the Girhotras and the Prakashs) are people with
shady background," she further said.
During the course of arguments, Abha and Bhardwaj also
had a couple of mild exchange of words, prompting the judge to
intervene at one stage, asking Bhardwaj not to get irritated.

"I need to ask this lady (Abha) what have I done,"
said Bhardwaj, whom Abha asked to make space for her as she
could not place her documents properly to argue the case.

"I am not able to open my papers. He (Bhardwaj) is
shouting in my ear. I cannot argue like that," she told the
Judge.

Abha argued the authorities had not investigated the
existence of a woman named Veena who, she claimed, was the
second wife of Girhotra. "This aspect of the Ruchika case was
not probed by the CBI," she said.

She said Rathore has already told the authorities that
he had no objection in joining the investigation.

"I am saying that the false allegations and the
stories, which they (Girhotra and others) are cooking up,
should be exposed," she added.

Rathore`s lawyer-wife also argued that Ashu had not
recorded any statement before any authority all these years
but "now all of a sudden he is making charges like 307
(attempt to murder), which are totally false."

Abha submitted that there was no evidence to show that
Ashu was illegally confined while adding the state had also
failed to give its reply so far.

Meanwhile, arguing for custodial interrogation of
Rathore, Bhardwaj said he had to be thoroughly interrogated as
it was a case of criminal conspiracy.

He alleged in court that the post-mortem report was
forged at the behest of Rathore as the inquest proceedings
after Ruchika`s suicide in December 1993 were conducted by the
Panchkula Police.

"Rathore has tried to subvert the law all these years.
We have been at the receiving end for 19 years," the counsel
said, alleging Rathore did not allow any action to be taken on
the report of the then DGP R R Singh who had recommended
registration of a case against the former DGP.

ASI Sewa Singh`s counsel Ajay Jain said his client had
conducted the investigation of the case for just one day and
followed the orders of his superior officers.

Jain claimed the action against Ashu was taken
following the arrest of Gajender, the kingpin of an
auto-lifters gang of Delhi.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, January 7, 2010 - 19:28

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