CBI to take over case against Rathore (Roundup)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

PANCHKULA/NEW DELHI - The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will take over “in a few days” the case against former Haryana police chief S.P.S. Rathore, convicted for molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra in 1990, and is waiting for copies of fresh FIRs naming him for abetting the teen’s suicide.

The Haryana Police Saturday said it won’t act hastily to arrest Rathore, who has been booked on non-bailable charges. The police on Friday drew criticism from a Haryana court for delaying action in the molestation case, which is now being probed afresh with the suicide angle.

A CBI official in Delhi said the probe agency was waiting for copies of the fresh FIRs.

“We have not received papers regarding fresh FIRs against Rathore from the state government,” the CBI official told IANS.

He said the case was “in principle” with the Haryana Police and they have to decide about Rathore’s custodial interrogation.

“We are yet to take over the case. We will decide on our line of action only after we get the FIR copies,” the official said.

An official in the ministry of personnel and public grievances said the government was studying the legal implications of Rathore’s potential arrest. The CBI comes under the jurisdiction of the ministry of personnel and public grievances.

“The CBI will take over the case in a few days,” the ministry official said.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police (Panchkula) Maneesh Chaudhary told IANS: Our investigation is still under process and we are looking into all aspects of the case before arresting anybody. We cannot do things hastily in this matter and we are busy collecting evidence pertaining to these (new) FIRs (about suicide abetment).”

Senior police officials said they have recommended that the fresh First Information Reports (FIRs) against Rathore be sent to the CBI, so there was no point seeking his interrogation in custody.

“The CBI can take over this case in the next few days and we do not want to do anything that might sabotage their investigation process,” Chaudhary said.

Haryana police earlier this week recommended that the CBI take over the case after Rathore was accused of abetment to suicide in Ruchika’s death.

Ruchika, a teenaged budding tennis player, was molested by Rathore, then an inspector general of police, in Panchkula Aug 12, 1990. She committed suicide in 1993 - three years after her molestation - due to continual harassment of her and her family by Rathore after she filed molestation charges against him.

Rathore was given a six-month jail term last month for the molestation, triggering an outcry over the apparently light sentence, which came 19 years after the molestation. A fresh case of abetment to suicide was filed against Rathore last week.

Declining anticipatory bail to Rathore, additional district and sessions judge Sanjeev Jindal Friday observed that the crime had a “spine-chilling” impact.

Jindal pulled up the state government, specifically the police, for their lackadaisical attitude.

Rathore was booked under non-bailable charges like attempt to murder, criminal intimidation, forging evidence, wrongful confinement, fabricating false evidence and criminal conspiracy.

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