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HC to hear Rathore petition daily from Friday

July 01, 2010 15:31 IST

The Punjab and Haryana high court has decided to conduct daily hearings from Friday on a revision petition of former Haryana director general of police S P S Rathore, who has challenged the session court's verdict sentencing him to an 18-month jail term for molesting 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra.

The hearing in the case of 68-year-old Rathore, who has spent over a month in high security Burail jail, was adjourned by Justice Jitendra Chauhan till Friday.

The court will now hear the matter on a day-to-day basis.

Rathore's lawyer wife Abha did not press for his bail and instead sought two days time from the court to argue the main revision petition.

The judge, however, told her that the common man should not be affected as other cases were already lined up.

"I will not force this court to bypass other cases," Abha said after which Justice Chauhan directed that the arguments in the case would be heard daily from Friday for one hour. Rathore is undergoing prison term for molesting Ruchika, a classmate of his daughter, 20 years ago.

Abha, during the hearing, questioned the locus standi of Madhu Prakash, mother of sole eyewitness in the molestation case Aradhna, to file a petition in the sessions court seeking enhancement of Rathore's sentence of six-month jail term awarded to him last year. Allowing the petitions of Madhu Parkash and that of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the sessions court had enhanced the six months sentence to 18 months prison term, which Rathore has challegned in the high court.

"She (Madhu) had no right to file any revision. She is not a complainant nor is she the victim. She is some stranger. She is not the aggrieved girl nor is she a member of Girhotra family," Abha contended.

She argued that Madhu's revision itself is "not maintainable and this raises a legal question".

Countering Abha, Ruchika family lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj said it was on the basis of the complaint of Madhu earlier that the whole case had moved.

"How can anyone decide not to make Madhu a party. This is beyond my imagination," Bhardwaj said.

Abha also alleged that Madhu had procured the inquiry report of the then Haryana DGP R R Singh in the molestation complaint against Rathore.

"She managed to procure the confidential inquiry report using political pressure. Later, she filed a criminal complaint (against Rathore) on the basis of that report. It is a conspiracy that I will tell the court later. There was no Right to Information Act at that time," she said.

Abha also contended that while Ruchika and Anand Prakash's family had been making "bogus" claim that the first information report in the case was not registered by the police earlier, the truth remained that they did not give any statements to the police, despite being approached by a senior police official.

She claimed that Rathore had been targeted by his enemies, who were opposed to his occupying the post of president of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association.

Abha contended that neither the trial court nor the appellate court had taken into consideration the defence plea that nobody had examined the site of the incident, otherwise the entire case could have turned on its head.

Abha's sister Neerja, her lawyer daughter Priyanjali, CBI counsel Ajay Kaushik, Anand Parkash (father of Aradhna) and S C Girhotra, father of Ruchika, were among those present in the court.

Abha had on May 26 filed a revision petition in the high court for suspension of sentence and grant of bail to Rathore, a day after he was sentenced and lodged in the jail.

Ruchika, a budding tennis player, had committed suicide three years after being molested by Rathore on August 12, 1990.
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