Rathore's counsels claim Aradhana was planted witness

Chandigarh: SPS Rathore's counsel on Wednesday told a local court hearing his plea challenging his conviction in the Ruchika molestation case that Aradhana, the prime witness in the case, was planted against the former Haryana DGP due to rivalry between two lawn tennis associations of Panchkula.

Rathore's counsel also submitted before the Additional District and Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh that Aradhana was not present when the incident allegedly took place and that she never visited the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA) office.

That Ruchika's friend Aradhana was a planted witness in the case was the main stress of Rathore's lawyers during the third day of the day-to-day hearing in the case, Ruchika's family lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj told reporters outside the court declared out of bounds for the media.

Rathore's lawyer wife Abha and their other lawyer N D Sharma pleaded before the court that the former DGP was a victim of rivalry between heads of two separate Lawn Tennis Associations - Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA) and Haryana Tennis Association (HTA) based at Panchkula.

At that time HLTA was headed by Rathore, an IPS officer, whereas J K Duggal, an IAS officer was at the helm of affairs in HTA.

The other contention of Rathore's counsel was that the CBI did not examine the relevant witness Paltoo (ball picker) and the then HLTA manager Kuldeep Singh, Bhardwaj said.

The former Haryana police chief's counsel cited some court judgements while reading out the entire evidence in the court which is also hearing petitions of the CBI and the victim's family seeking enhancement of Rathore's six-month prison term in the case.

At the adjournment of the day's in-camera proceedings, the tainted former DGP's lawyer wife Abha and the other counsel Sharma also entered into an argument with the prosecution.

68-year-old Rathore was also present during the proceedings.

The ADSJ during its hearing in the case on April 16 had directed that the three petitions filed by Rathore, CBI and Ruchika's family and friends will be heared on a day-to-day basis from May three to May eight without adjournments.

The former DGP was sentenced to six-month imprisonment on December 21 last year by CBI Judge J S Sidhu who had held him guilty of molesting a budding tennis player Ruchika Girhotra, 14, at Panchkula near here in Haryana on August 12, 1990 who later committed suicide.