SPS Rathore's lawyer wife Abha, who has challenged his conviction in Ruchika molestation case, on Wednesday told the court that the prosecution had failed to hear certain key witnesses present at the scene of the alleged crime who could have unravelled the entire truth.
As the day-to-day hearing on the revision petition filed by Rathore resumed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Abha submitted that certain witnesses, including ball picker Paltoo, coach Thomas and chowkidar Pyare Lal, present on the day of alleged crime, were not heard by the prosecution in the case.
"The prosecution story revolves around only two girls - Aradhana (friend of Ruchika and daughter of complainant Madhu) and deceased Ruchika whereas other witnesses who were present at the site on August 12, 1990 were not brought by the prosecution," she contended while trying to pick up holes in the probe story.
Even the gunman attached to Rathore at that time was not heard by the prosecution, she submitted while asserting that "the story of prosecution is not proved by the chain of events."
She contended that Paltoo, the then manager of Haryana Lawn Tennis Association Kuldeep Singh and Thomas among others would have been key persons to unravel the truth on the nature of the incident.
"Had these people been heard by the prosecution, the whole falsehood of the prosecution would have been exposed," she said, adding, independent witnesses should have also been brought by the prosecution in the case.
She also submitted in the court that adverse influence was made on witnesses in the case and contended that the prosecution had failed to establish that Aradhana was present at HLTA on the day of the alleged crime.
She further submitted that Ruchika's statement recorded by the then DGP R R Singh was not brought on record.
"What material relating to Ruchika are on record except her forged signatures," she questioned.
Assisted by her lawyer daughter Priyanjali, Abha claimed that Ruchika had never made any complaint before police during investigations in this case.
She contended before the court that the sole evidence in the case was Aradhana's statement on the basis of which Rathore had been convicted.
"This case totally revolves around the sole testimony of Aradhana," she submitted while adding that the prosecution had no evidence to show that Aradhana was present inside the HLTA when the alleged incident took place.
"Aradhana is totally unreliable and her testimony is full of falsehood," she said. "The prosecution was required to prove the presence of Aradhana at the time of alleged crime," she submitted while contending that Aradhana was later introduced as spot witness in this case.
On the question of hearing independent witnesses, including Paltoo and coach, Judge Jitendra Chauhan made an oral observation that they could not have stood as independent witnesses as they were in service.
However, Abha pleaded that the CBI can't say that it failed to trace Paltoo since due to this we are losing (the case). She contended that during trial of the case in lower courts we produced three witnesses who had denied that Aradhana had come inside.
"If witnesses are saying that only one girl along with Ruchika came to HLTA then why it is presumed that it was Aradhana, it could well be some other friend of Ruchika," Abha contended. However, the Judge observed that the memorandum which later turned to be a complaint against Rathore was based on the narration of two girls. Abha contended that Aradhana had spoken lies and her statements should have been tested by the prosecution. Abha also told the court that Anand Parkash and his wife had been facing several litigations with her family.
"Complainant (Madhu Parkash) is an interested party in this case...she is lawyer by profession and they are rich people of the society," she contended. 68-year-old Rathore is lodged in high security Burail jail since May 25 after being sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment for molesting 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra on August 12, 1990.
Rathore was then the President of Haryana Lawn Tennis Association in Panchkula. Ruchika, a budding tennis player, committed suicide three years after the incident.