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Ruchika’s lawyer evading arrest in land scam case, say cops

Chandigarh, June 2 (Calcutta Tube) The lawyer who played an instrumental role in the conviction of former Haryana police chief S.P.S. Rathore in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case has been absconding and evading arrest in connection with a multi-crore land scam, police here said Wednesday.

Pankaj Bhardwaj escaped from his home here before a special team of Amritsar police reached to arrest him late Tuesday.

‘We had come to arrest Pankaj Bhardwaj, whose name figured in a land scam that is worth 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, who is the counsel of Anand and Madhu Parkash, parents of the sole eyewitness and Ruchika’s friend Aradhna, did not appear in the court Tuesday to attend the hearing Rathore’s bail petition.

Bhardwaj has been fighting the case free-of-cost for many years and played a vital role in sending Rathore behind bars.

According to police, Bhardwaj has been charged with cheating and fraudulently selling a land. A case was registered against 35 people, including Bhardwaj, on a complaint from the Amritsar Improvement Trust and a Gurgaon-based company in 2007.

‘A disputed land piece 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 they came to know that a disputed land was sold to them,’ he said.

In the wake of these developments, it seems impossible for Bhardwaj to attend the hearing of Rathore’s bail petition at Punjab and Haryana High Court later Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Bhardwaj’s subordinate had pleaded before the high court that he was not well and was unable to attend court’s hearing, leading to an adjournment.

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

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