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Police Slaps Abetment To Suicide Charge Against Rathore

PTI 05 Jan 2010, 14:48:39 IST

Six years after the CBI dropped abetment to suicide complaint against former DGP SPS Rathore in the Ruchika molestation case, Haryana Police on Tuesday brought back the charge against the disgraced officer by registering a fresh FIR.

The FIR, the third against Rathore since last week, has been registered on the complaint of Ruchika's brother Ashu which he filed on December 31, Superintendent of Police, Panchkula, Maneesh Chaudhary told PTI.

Besides Rathore, four other police officers - then Ambala SP K P Singh, ASI Jai Narayan, SI Prem Dutt and ASI Sewa Singh - have been made co-accused in the FIR lodged at the Sector five Police Station here, police said.

The maximum punishment under section 306 IPC (abetment to suicide) is ten years imprisonment.

Rathore was recently handed down a lighter six months imprisonment by a CBI court at Chandigarh for having molested Ruchika Girhotra here on August 12, 1990.

The budding tennis player had attempted suicide at her Panchkula residence on December 28, 1993 and died the following day. 

The earlier two FIRs against the top cop were registered on the complaints of Ruchika's father Subhash Chander Girhotra and Ashu for various offences, including attempt to murder, torture and harassment and doctoring the post-mortem report.

The SP said that the local police has recommended that the third FIR also be entrusted to the seven-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by IGP (Security) S S Kapoor probing the case.

The Panchkula SP, who is a member of the SIT, said that subsequently the SIT will recommend to the state government to hand over all the three cases to the CBI as has been demanded by the Girhotra family.

Chaudhary said the FIR under section 306 IPC has been registered after receipt of legal opinion.

"Ashu gave a detailed complaint alleging that for Ruchika's suicidal death, Rathore was responsible. Based on the statement of Ashu, we have registered the case against the former DGP," he said.

Asked about further action against the accused, including Rathore till the case is taken over by the CBI, he said, "Our investigations are on." 

He said that as far as Haryana Police was concerned, they would take all steps including questioning the accused and the complainants and others having any information or in any was connected with the incident which includes the school where Ruchika studied.   "No time frame can be stated for any action in the matter as the record of the past 19 years has to be examined," he said.

Meanwhile, sources in the Home Department told PTI that the three cases in connection with the Ruchika molestation- cum-suicide cases were expected to be handed over to the CBI shortly.

The CBI would be investigating the abetment to suicide charge against Rathore for the second time since the Ruchika's molestation-cum-suicide 19 years back.

Earlier, the investigating agency had dropped the charge of abetment to suicide against 67-year-old Rathore and charged him only under section 354 of the IPC (molestation) on March 17, 2003.

Before the CBI chargesheet, the then Haryana DGP R R Singh in his probe in 1990 had concluded that whatever Ruchika had stated about her molestation by Rathore was "based on true facts and that he was of the considered opinion that a cognizable offence was made out."

Singh, therefore, had recommended registration of case under appropriate sections of Indian Penal Code and had forwarded his Inquiry report of September 3, 1990 to the Home Secretary during the tenure of Chief Minister Hukam Singh of Janata Dal. 

After the incident of molestation, Ruchika remained confined to her house and was depressed. She committed suicide by consuming poison on December 28, 1993 and died the next day. 

After her suicide, the case was transferred to CBI and the agency "established (that) Rathore, while working as President of Haryana Lawn Tennis Association, Panchkula, molested Ruchika."  

The chargesheet was presented in the court of the Special Judicial Magistrate, CBI, Ambala on November 17, 2000 when INLD's Om Parkash Chautala was the Chief Minister. Thereafter, Rathore was ordered to be summoned for the offence. He appeared in response to the notice on January 10, 2001 and was given bail.

On December 31, Ruchika's brother Ashu had filed a complaint with the Panchkula Police demanding invoking of section 306 IPC against the former top cop and others.

Ashu had said in his complaint that he was tortured, harassed and booked in false cases after the molestation of his sister. "Such circumstances were created which compelled his sister to commit suicide in 1993 - three years after the molestation by Rathore," he added.  Ruchika's father and brother had earlier on December 29 filed two complaints against Rathore leveling various allegations, including attempt to murder and registration of false cases.

The two previous complaints have already been turned into FIRs and a seven-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by IGP (Security) S S Kapoor has been constituted to investigate them expeditiously. PTI