Court hears Rathore’s bail plea, decision Thursday

Chandigarh, June 2 (Calcutta Tube) The Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday reserved for Thursday its decision on the bail plea of former Haryana police chief S.P.S. Rathore, who has been convicted and sent to jail for molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra.

Rathore was served an 18-month sentence May 25 by a district and sessions court here. His wife and counsel Abha Rathore filed a bail petition and a revision petition in the high court May 26.

‘The high court’s vacation bench of Justice Ajay Tewari has reserved the decision for tomorrow (Thursday),’ said Anmol Rattan Sidhu, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) lawyer.

Rathore has been convicted of molesting Ruchika in 1990. She committed suicide three years later.

While arguing in court Wednesday, Sidhu said: ‘This is one of the most heinous crimes and even a life has been lost. All the crimes of Rathore have been established on record by way of concrete evidence. There is nothing like media hype in this case.’

The CBI Tuesday filed an 18-page reply, rebutting Rathore’s plea for bail.

‘Rathore is trying to distort the facts of the prosecution case regarding the visit of Aradhna (witness) and victim Ruchika to the office of Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA). There is no room for any suspicion or doubt about the happenings on the fateful day,’ the CBI said.

At the time of the molestation, Rathore was the president of HLTA and Ruchika was a budding tennis player.

In its reply, the CBI described Aradhna, who is the only witness in the case, as an independent, balanced and justified witness.

However, Abha strongly argued against the CBI’s stand.

‘There are many evidence that they have not taken on record. Aradhna was 15-year-old at that time but now she is 30; a very clever girl who is working in Australia. She is coming here, conducting press conferences. She even went to meet Utsav Sharma, who attacked Rathore (outside a court),’ said Abha, who was accompanied by her lawyer daughter Priyanjali.

‘This complainant family (of Anand Parkash and Madhu Parkash) is not as simple as they are projecting themselves as glorified heroes,’ she added.

The court witnessed some drama when Ruchika’s father S.C. Girhotra tried to intervene in the arguments and sought permission from the judge to speak. However, the judge turned down his request and said: ‘You have your counsel representing your case.’

The former Haryana director general of police was sent to Burail Jail here May 25 after the district and sessions court upheld his conviction in the molestation case by a CBI special court in December last year and enhanced his jail term to 18 months.

Rathore was sentenced to six months’ rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs.1,000 by the CBI special court. He was immediately granted bail then. Rathore filed a plea in January challenging his conviction.

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