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Ruchika Case Convict Rathore Sent To Jail, Sentence Enhanced To 18 Months

Disgraced ex-Haryana DGP SPS Rathore was on Tuesday in Chandigarh jailed after he was arrested for the first time shortly after a sessions court enhanced his prison term to 18 months for molesting teenager Ruchika
PTI May 25, 2010 16:45 IST

Disgraced ex-Haryana DGP SPS Rathore was on Tuesday in Chandigarh jailed after he was arrested for the first time shortly after a sessions court enhanced his prison term to 18 months for molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra--who later committed suicide--20 years back.

Pronouncing the verdict in a packed court room, Additional District and Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh dismissed the appeal filed by 68-year-old Rathore challenging the six month rigorous imprisonment after he was convicted in the molestation of the 14-year-old budding tennis player.

The CBI and Ruchika's family had also filed petitions seeking enhancement of the sentence to maximum two years.

Rathore, who has been stripped of President's Police medal after his conviction, was taken into custody by the CBI within the court premises itself after he did not move out after the pronouncement of the enhanced sentence.

Though the pronouncement was made at 2.15 pm, he kept sitting in the court room with his wife and counsel Abha moving an application seeking a copy of the judgment.

The court directed that Rathore be taken to the local Burail Jail immediately following dismissal of his appeal and enhancement of the sentence after which he was taken into custody by the CBI.

After the sentencing, Rathore looked grim and his smirk missing but put up a brave face telling reporters, "I will keep smiling".

The CBI personnel took him out of the court premises at about 3.20 pm and headed for the Burail Jail in a white Tavera vehicle.

He entered the Jail through its massive iron gate at about 3.35 pm and in all likelihood will spend the night there.

His wife Abha was not present when Rathore entered the jail as she stayed behind in the District Courts.

 Welcoming the verdict, Ruchika's father SC Girhotra said, "We are satisfied (with the Court's verdict) as  justice has been delivered."

However, Girhotra said the battle against Rathore would continue till abetment to suicide charge against him is proved. "We will continue to fight till he is charged under section 306 of IPC," he said.

The former top cop was sentenced to six months' rigorous imprisonment on December 21 last year by CBI Judge J S Sidhu for molesting Ruchika in Panchkula on August 12, 1990.

Three years after the incident, Ruchika committed suicide by consuming poison.

 The quantum of sentence had sparked an outrage in the country.

Rathore had sought setting aside the trial court verdict against him while Ruchika's family and the CBI had pleaded for enhancement of punishment to the maximum of two years provided in the law.

The court directed the jail superintendent to provide proper medical care to Rathore, if required, following an application by his lawyer-wife Abha that he was a heart patient and required care.

The court allowed Rathore's plea for getting himself examined at the cardiac care department of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER).

The judgement came twenty years after 14-year-old budding tennis player Ruchika Girhotra was molested by Rathore. Following is the chronology of events leading to e verdict: .

Aug 12, 1990 : Haryana Inspector General of Police (IGP) S P S Rathore, also the Haryana Lawn Tennis      Association president, molests 14-year-old budding tennis player  Ruchika Girhotra in his office room at Panchkula.

Aug 16, 1990 : Complaint made to Chief Minister Hukam Singh and Home Secretary.

Aug 17, 1990 : Hukam Singh asks Director General of Police (DGP) R R Singh to investigate the matter.

Aug 18, 1990 : Police registers Daily Development Report (DDR) against Rathore.

Sep 3, 1990 :  R R Singh finds Rathore prima facie guilty, submits report. Recommends FIR in the matter. The DGP and Home Secretary J K Duggal recommend departmental action and chargesheet against Rathore.

March 12, 1991 : Home Minister Sampat Singh gives consent to departmental action. Forwards it to Hukam Singh.

 March 13, 1991 : Hukam Singh gives his consent to the proposal.

April 6, 1991 :  President's Rule is imposed in the state. Governor Dhanik Lal Mandal takes over.

May 28, 1991 :   Chargesheet approved against Rathore during Governor's rule.

July 23, 1991 :  Bhajan Lal-led Congress government takes over. Remains Chief Minister till May 9, 1996, during which most of the alleged atrocities on Ruchika's family takes place.

April 6, 1992 :  FIR against Ashu, Ruchika's brother, for car theft registered.

June 30, 1992 : Matter for registering FIR against Rathore taken up and Haryana LR R K Nehru recommends immediate registration of FIR against Rathore.

March 30,1993 : Second FIR is registered against Ashu for car theft.

 May 10, 1993 : Third FIR is registered against Ashu for car theft.

June 12, 1993 : Fourth FIR is registered against Ashu for car theft.

July 30, 1993 : Fifth FIR is registered against Ashu for car theft.

 Sep 4, 1993   : Sixth FIR is registered against Ashu for car theft. All cases were registered under section 379 of the IPC.

Oct 23, 1993  : Ashu is illegally picked by the Haryana police and kept in illegal detention for almost two months. 11 car theft cases  were registered against him.

Dec 28, 1993  : Unable to cope with harassment inflicted on her and her family, Ruchika commits suicide by consuming poison.

Dec 29, 1993  : Ashu is released following Ruchika's suicide.

April 1994    : The charges framed against Rathore dropped during Bhajan Lal's tenure, months after Ruchika died.

Nov 4, 1994   : Rathore promoted as Additional DGP by Bhajan Lal-led Congress government.

May 11, 1996  : Bansi Lal becomes Haryana Chief Minister, remains on the post till 23 July, 1999, during which Rathore is promoted as DGP.

 June 5, 1998  : Rathore suspended by Bansi Lal government in connection with a parole case regarding a detainee.

Aug 21, 1998  : CBI probe is ordered in Ruchika molestation case by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

 March 3, 1999 : Rathore is reinstated as Additional DGP by Bansi Lal government.

July 23, 1999 : Om Parkash Chautala becomes Chief Minister.

Sep 30, 1999  : Departmental inquiry exonerates Rathore in molestation case; he is promoted as DGP with retrospective effect from May  20, 1999.

Oct 10, 1999  : Rathore made Haryana's DGP by the Chautala government.

 Nov 16, 2000  : CBI files chargesheet against Rathore in Ruchika molestation case.

Dec 5, 2000   : Rathore removed as Haryana DGP and sent on leave.

 March, 2002   : Rathore retires from service.

Dec 21, 2009  : CBI special court convicts Rathore in the Ruchika molestation case. Sentenced him to six months imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 1, 000.

Feb 8, 2010   : Rathore attacked with a knife by a student of NIFD from Ahmedabad.

 May 3, 2010   : Day-to-day hearing on three appeals one of Rathore challenging his conviction and two of CBI and Ruchika's family  seeking enhancement of the sentence - in the Ruchika molestation case commence.

May 11, 2010  : Day-to-day hearing on the three appeals in Ruchika molestation case ends. Verdict on May 20.

May 20, 2010  : Additional District & Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh defers till May 25 pronouncement of the order.

May 25, 2010  : Sessions court enhances Rathore's sentence from six months to one-and-a- half years. Rathore is sent to Burail jail. PTI