Decision on Rathore’s bail plea reserved

Thursday, January 7, 2010

PANCHKULA/CHANDIGARH - A Panchkula court in Haryana Thursday reserved its order on the anticipatory bail plea of former state police chief S.P.S. Rathore, while the Punjab and Haryana High Court Thursday issued notices on a public interest litigation against the disgraced police officer.

Panchkula Additional District and Sessions judge Sanjeev Jindal Thursday reserved his decision on Rathore’s anticipatory bail plea on two fresh first information reports (FIRs), which were registered Dec 29.

The court reserved its decision for Friday after hearing the arguments for over two-hours in a packed courtroom.

A high court bench, headed by Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal, issued notices to the union and Haryana governments, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and to Rathore in a PIL filed by lawyer and human rights activist Ranjan Lakhanpal, who has sought that Rathore be charged under Section 305 (abetment of suicide of a minor) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) since he allegedly drove teenager Ruchika to suicide in 1993.

The matter will be heard by the high court Jan 27.

In Panchkula, the interim relief granted to Rathore, convicted last month for molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra 19 years ago, to avail bail on two bonds of Rs.100,000 in case he is arrested by the police, will continue for another day till the court gives its order on his anticipatory bail plea.

“They do not have even an iota of evidence to prove the false allegations, levelled against Rathore… They have wrongly used media to create pressure over the state government and police to register these baseless FIRs,” said Abha Rathore, counsel and wife of S.P.S. Rathore, while arguing in the court.

Refuting allegations that Rathore, Haryana’s former director general of police (DGP), used his position to falsely implicate Ruchika’s brother Ashu in car theft cases, Abha said: “Rathore never met and tried to influence investigating officers in the cases that were registered against Ashu. Rather Daya Ram, grandfather of Ashu, who was DSP in the CBI, interfered in the police inquiry.”

Two new FIRs were registered against Rathore Dec 29. He was booked on non-bailable charges like attempt to murder, criminal intimidation, forging evidence, wrongful confinement, fabricating false evidence and criminal conspiracy.

Following this, Rathore was also charged Tuesday with abetting the suicide (Section 306 of IPC) of teenager Ruchika Girhotra.

“We are not filing any plea for bail with regard to FIR registered under section 306 as it is already a concluded matter. We want anticipatory bail in only other two FIRs,” pointed out Abha.

A CBI special court in Chandigarh had Dec 21 held Rathore guilty of molesting 15-year-old Ruchika in Panchkula town Aug 12, 1990 and sentenced him to a six-month prison term. Rathore was immediately granted bail.

The budding tennis player had committed suicide three years after the incident.

“This is a case of circumstantial evidence and criminal conspiracy. There is no question of misusing media. Media came into scene only after Dec 21, after the court convicted Rathore,” said Pankaj Bhardwaj, the lawyer of the complainant, while arguing.

Meanwhile, the court also pulled up the public prosecutor when he demanded adjournment of the case, seeking sufficient time for the collection of evidence.

In his reply to the court, the state government neither opposed Rathore’s bail plea nor sought the custody of Rathore for interrogation.

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