Court Reserves Judgment On Rathore's Bail Plea
Panchkula court on Thursday reserved till tomorrow its order on the anticipatory bail sought by former DGP SPS Rathore following registration of two fresh FIRs levelling serious criminal charges against him in the Ruchika molestation case.
The order was reserved by Additional District and Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jindal on 67-year-old Rathore bail plea after hearing arguments of Pankaj Bhardwaj, the counsel for the Subash Girhotra family, and lawyer wife of Rathore Abha.
The fresh charges against Rathore include attempt to murder, wrongful confinement and forging of the post-mortem report of the victim.
Arguing before the court, Abha submitted that "Rathore is being targeted due to the media hype" in connection with the case.
"Media is describing Rathore as a molester, a monster and an animal. Media is pronouncing its own judgement holding him guilty and it appears that the media has taken over the justice system," Rathore's wife told the court.
She sought her husband's anticipatory bail in the new cases registered on December 29, saying the issue of 306 under the IPC (abetment to suicide) against him had already been settled by the Supreme Court.
"Even the government seems to be buckling under the media pressure," Abha alleged and sought protection of Rathore.
Bhardwaj submitted in the court that Rathore should be arrested and thoroughly interrogated while in custody.
"Here is a case where the man has masterminded everything. It is not possible to call him over for a cup of tea and discuss the matter. He has to be thoroughly interrogated. It is a case of criminal conspiracy. To unearth that Rathore's custodial interrogation is of utmost importance," he said.
Bhardwaj said that the statement of Ruchika's brother Ashu was never examined despite he being the crucial link in the entire case.
Arguments were also put forward in the court by the public prosecutor representing the state and the counsel for Rathore's co-accused ASI Sewa Singh.
During the hearing, Abha submitted that the statements being made in the media by Ruchika's father Subhash Girhotra and others were "without the backing of any evidence."
She said that Rathore has already submitted to the authorities that he had no objection in joining the investigation. "I am saying that the false allegations and the stories, which they (Girhotra and others) are cooking up, should be exposed," she added.
Abha said Girhotra was involved in corruption cases while Anand Parkash, the husband of the main complaint Madhu Parkash, (who are the parents of Aradhna -- the sole witness to the molestation) was prematurely retired from service following corruption charges.
She said the authorities had not investigated the existence of a woman named Veena who, she claimed, was the second wife of Girhotra. "This aspect of the Ruchika case was not probed by the CBI," she said.
Bhardwaj alleged in the court that the post-mortem report was forged at the behest of Rathore as the inquest proceedings after Ruchika's suicidal death were conducted by the Panchkula police.
"Rathore has tried to subvert the law all these years. We have been at the receiving end for 19 years," the counsel said, adding Rathore did not allow any action to be taken on the report of the then DGP R R Singh who had recommended registration of a case against the former DGP.
He said that the Girhotra family were in a state of shock and could not fight the case as no FIR was registered for a long time after the incident in 1990. It was registered only after the matter came before the High Court, he said.
"It is a classic case of criminal conspiracy. Even the state is helping Rathore till today," Bhardwaj claimed.
ASI Sewa Singh's counsel Ajay Jain said that his client had conducted the investigation of the case for just one day and he followed the orders of his superior officers.
Jain said that the action against Ashu was taken following the arrest of Gajender, the kingpin of an auto-lifters gang of Delhi.
"It was only on the statement of Sandeep Verma, a gang member, who had stated that Ashu was also involved in the crime, which led to the arrest of Ashu in connection with an auto lifting case," he added.
The Public Prosecutor appearing for the state intervened in between the arguments and sought three weeks time to collect evidence regarding the two cases.
The Judge asked the Public Prosecutor as to why the state had not collected the evidence in the six days time since the matter had come up before the court last week. PTI