Ruchika’s family not cooperating, claims probe team chief

Sunday, January 10, 2010

PANCHKULA - The work of the special investigation team (SIT), probing criminal charges against former state police chief S.P.S. Rathore, is getting delayed as teenaged molestation victim Ruchika’s family is not cooperating, the SIT chief said Sunday. Family members, however, dismissed the charge and questioned the team’s efficiency.

“We had sent many notices and reminders to Ruchika’s father S.C. Girhotra and her brother Ashu, but they have neither approached us nor came to our office till date,” Inspector General (Security) S.S. Kapoor, who heads this seven-member SIT, told IANS.

Kapoor said his team has recorded and examined the statements of all other important witnesses in this case, but he could not disclose any details at the moment.

There were reports that the SIT had also questioned Veena Girhotra, whom Rathore’s wife and counsel Abha has claimed to be the second wife of Ruchika’s father, but Kapoor refused to either confirm or deny this.

“I cannot tell anything about Veena Girhotra. We will make everything public once our investigation is complete,” he said.

However, Ruchika’s family and their lawyer criticised the SIT and raised questions on its probe.

“SIT officials are asking S.C. Girhotra and Ashu to give signatures on blank papers. How can they do this? SIT is working at the behest of Rathore and we do not expect any sort of fair probe from them, Anand Prakash, complainant in the case, told IANS.

“Both Girhotra and his son have not met SIT officials so far and they will not participate in their investigation even in the future. So far, the SIT has failed to arrest Rathore and other accused in this case. Now again, they are trying to manipulate things according to their will,” he alleged.

Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) R.S. Dalal constituted the SIT Dec 30 to probe charges, including non-bailable ones like attempt to murder, against Rathore, who headed the state police from October 1999 to December 2000.

Pankaj Bhardwaj, lawyer for Ruchika’s family, said: “SIT is working hand in glove with the main accused. They are not at all competent and we seriously doubt their authenticity.”

The state police made first arrest in this case late Friday evening in Pune, apprehending car thief Gajendra Singh, who had earlier named Ashu for involvement in car thefts. Following this, six cases of auto thefts were slapped against Ashu.

Haryana police have obtained a seven-day transit remand from a Pune court and they are bringing Gajendra here.

“Our team will reach Panchkula any time with Gajendra Singh. Thereafter, he will be presented to the court and we will seek his remand for interrogation,” said Kapoor.

“Right now it is not appropriate to comment anything on the relations of Gajendra with Ashu and things will become clear only after his interrogation,” he added.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Chandigarh had Dec 21 held Rathore guilty of molesting 14-year-old Ruchika in Panchkula town Aug 12, 1990, and sentenced him to a six-month prison term. The budding tennis player had committed suicide three years after the incident.

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