Chandigarh, June 2 (Calcutta Tube) Lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj, a key player behind former Haryana police chief S.P.S. Rathore’s conviction in the Ruchika molestation case, Wednesday claimed that a lobby had conspired for the Punjab Police raid on his house here Tuesday.
A special team from Amritsar city in Punjab raided Bhardwaj’s house Tuesday to arrest him, in connection with a multi-crore-rupee land scam, but they did not find him there.
Bhardwaj Wednesday appeared in the high court and argued on Rathore’s bail plea in the Ruchika case.
‘It is all very surprising for me as around 20 days back I had got a notice in connection with this (land) case and yesterday (Tuesday) a police team raided my house. There is a lobby that is conspiring against me but right now I am not in a position to tell that who is the mastermind behind all this,’ Bhardwaj told IANS here Wednesday.
‘Its timing is quite questionable as it coincides with the hearing of Rathore’s case in the high court. However, I am well aware of the law and I would not run away from anyone. Right now I am in the process of filing a plea for anticipatory bail in court,’ said Bhardwaj.
Although members of the raiding team claimed that Bhardwaj was absconding, nobody bothered to arrest him at the high court, where he attended court hearings.
‘We had come to arrest Pankaj Bhardwaj, whose name figured in a land scam involving crores of rupees. He somehow got the information about the raid and escaped from his house before we reached there,’ Amritsar Deputy Superintendent of Police Kirpal Singh, who led the five-member police team, told IANS.
‘Bhardwaj is absconding. We have got clues about his whereabouts and we will conduct raids at his possible hideouts to nab him,’ said Singh.
The lawyer is counsel for complainant Anand Prakash and his wife Madhu in the Ruchika molestation case. The complainants are the parents of Aradhna, the sole witness in the case and Ruchika’s friend.
On Tuesday, Bhardwaj did not appear in the court for the hearing on Rathore’s bail petition.
Bhardwaj has been fighting the molestation case free-of-cost for many years and played a vital role in sending Rathore behind bars.
According to Amritsar police, Bhardwaj has been charged with cheating and fraudulently selling a land. A case was registered against 32 people, including Bhardwaj, on a complaint from the Amritsar Improvement Trust and a Gurgaon-based company in 2007.
Sixteen accused have been arrested and all of them have got bail in the matter, police said.
‘A disputed piece of land of Amritsar Improvement Trust was illegally transferred in the name of R.P. Private Limited, in which Bhardwaj is one of the directors,’ a police officer told IANS, requesting anonymity.
‘This land was then sold to a Gurgaon-based company which registered an FIR against R.P. Private Limited when it came to know that a disputed land was sold to it,’ he said.
Rathore, who is currently lodged in Burail Jail here, has been convicted of molesting teenager Ruchika in 1990. She committed suicide three years later.