Chandigarh, May 26 (Calcutta Tube) Former Haryana police chief S.P.S. Rathore, who woke up in jail Wednesday after being held for molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra, has joined a select band of top police officers of the state who ended up on the wrong side of the law they were supposed to protect.
It took the country’s legal system nearly 20 years to put behind bars the man, who had molested budding teenaged tennis player Ruchika Girhotra August 1990. She committed suicide three years later.
But Rathore is not the first police chief in Haryana to go behind bars. Of Haryana’s 26 director generals of police (DGPs) since the state was created Nov 1, 1966, three have now been behind bars.
Former Haryana DGP Lachhman Dass was the first state police chief to be arrested by the same force which he once headed.
Dass, who was DGP from August 1994 till April 1995, was arrested soon after his retirement after he was accused of being involved in a conspiracy of killing gangster Jatinder Pehal in a staged shootout in 1994.
Pehal’s mother, Ishwati Devi, had approached the high court saying that her son was killed in a staged shootout while in police custody.
Dass, who spent several months in prison before getting out on bail, has written in his bio-data on the Haryana police’s official website that his ‘fond memories’ of police service included being framed in the case.
‘A saga of torture and humiliation by a politician CM who wanted illegal actions which he (Dass) refused and suffered awfully and some police officers became tool against him,’ Dass, who now resides in Panchkula’s Sector 8 and is involved in social activities and running a petrol pump with his son, wrote on the official website.
During his service, Dass got the President Gallantry Medal in 1970 and President’s Police Medal for distinguished services later.
His case is now pending before various courts.
Dass’ successor, DGP Ramesh Sehgal, who headed the state police between May 1995 and November 1995, was arrested in December 1996 after he was allegedly caught taking bribe from a Gurgaon businessman for releasing a prisoner on extended parole.
Sehgal, who retired in December 2000 and died a year later, had alleged that the corruption case against him was set up by jealous colleagues in the state police.
Interestingly, senior police and IAS officers personally went to catch Sehgal ‘red-handed’ and arrest him at his Sector 7 residence in Panchkula, adjoining Chandigarh.
His case was closed after his death.
In Rathore’s case, the arrest came after nearly 20 years. While he continued to enjoy his power, clout, perks and position, those who fought against him travailed through cases slapped against them, being hounded by the police for no reason, harassment from different quarters and hundreds of trips to courts in Ambala, Patiala and Chandigarh.
Ruchika herself, unable to bear the harassment unleashed on her and her family, particularly on her younger brother Ashu who was arrested for several car theft cases slapped on him, committed suicide Dec 28, 1993.
Rathore, 68, who made sure his grin was in place every time he came before the media cameras, circumvented the system and the law through his powerful position in the Haryana police to evade arrest.
Tuesday saw that grin turn into a grim face as he was taken into custody by officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and put in the Burail high-security jail here.
Rathore has been lodged in barrack No.10. Keeping company with him are seven other convicted police officials.