Ruchika case: Court reserves order on Rathore`s bail plea
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Last Updated: Thursday, January 07, 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 07, 2010, 19:28


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