Ruchika molestation: 6 months jail, Rs 1,000 fine for ex-DGP

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Nineteen years after he allegedly molested a teenaged girl who later committed suicide, former Haryana Director General of Police S P S Rathore was today sentenced to six months rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,000 for the crime.

Special CBI Magistrate J S Sidhu convicted Rathore of molesting 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra. Rathore got bail immediately after the order was pronounced and was told to furnish bail bonds of Rs 10,000. His wife and defence counsel, Abha Rathore, stood surety for bail.

In August 1990, Ruchika, a budding tennis player, was allegedly molested by Rathore, then an IG and president of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association, at his office-cum-residence — Ruchika's friend and classmate Aradhana was eyewitness to the incident. Traumatised by the incident and subsequent harassment of her family, Ruchika committed suicide by poisoning herself in 1993.

While pronouncing the verdict, the magistrate relied on Aradhana's statement in court. Deposing as prime prosecution witness, Aradhana, who is now married and settled in Australia, told the court that she had seen Rathore forcibly holding and molesting Ruchika.

"The allegations against the former senior police officer are of moral turpitude which are serious in nature and are particularly against a minor girl. Therefore, the prayer for probation in the case by the accused has been declined," the magistrate said.

Rathore had urged the court to take a lenient view as he was old and had undergone a valve surgery recently. He said he was under great mental stress owing to media reporting of the incident.

"I have great faith in the judicial system. I will file an appeal ... I am relieved today, thanks to my lovely wife who stood by me, fought the case and gave a strong defence," Rathore, who retired as DGP, told reporters.

Investigation into the case was handed over to the CBI in 1998. Ruchika's family moved out of Chandigarh. They alleged they were being harassed by the police in retaliation for the case against Rathore.

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