Chandigarh, Nov 12 (PTI) After spending close to six months behind bars, disgraced ex-Haryana DGP SPS Rathore serving a 18-month sentence in the Ruchika molestation case walked free today, a day after the Supreme Court granted bail.
68-year-old Rathore, wearing a white shirt with the infamous smirk back on his face, was released from the high security Burail jail on the outskirts of the city and whisked away in a car after walking a short distance towards the main gate.
Rathore, who was received by his counsel-wife Abha and surrounded by police personnel, did not talk to a strong posse of waiting newsmen and whisked away in his red car.
The release came shortly after Abha fulfilled the legal formalities and furnished a bail bond of Rs one lakh in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate J S Sidhu.
Still and TV cameramen also jostled for vantage points as the mediamen waited outside the jail premises since morning
Rathore was in jail exactly for 170 days in barrack number Ten as 'B' class prisoner and worked as a librarian for which he earned around Rs 5,000.
The Supreme Court while granting Rathore bail yesterday had also ordered that he would not leave the country without the prior permission of the CJM. Rathore had challenged his conviction and the enhanced sentence before the Apex Court.
It had also taken note of the fact that the CBI had closed two of the three fresh cases against him with the probe into the abetment to suicide charge still underway.
Ruchika, 14, a budding tennis player, had committed suicide three years after being molested by Rathore on August 12, 1990.
A sessions court had on May 25 this year increased Rathore's jail term from six months to one-and-a-half years while allowing CBI and the Ruchika Girhotra family's appeal for enhancement of the punishment.
Rathore has been lodged in Burail jail in Chandigarh since May 25 after his punishment was enhanced.
Rathore, who was in the barrack along with a spiritual leader Baba Pritpal Singh and some other accused cops, was appointed in-charge of jail library.
The jail staff called the former top cop a "punctual and diligent" worker.
A disappointed Anand Prakash, a family friend of the Girhotras, demanded there should be Independent Commission of Inquiry in which there should be no police representative to probe molestation cases where cops are involved.
Rathore's lawyer Madhulesh Shishodia blamed the media for the court giving enhanced jail term for his client.
"He has got jail term only because of you people. You have howled...," Shishodia said training his guns on the media.
Shishodia claimed that the former police officer was "hardly linked" with the molestation incident.
What mainly clinched the issue in favour of Rathore in the Apex Court was the submission by Additional Solicitor General Haren Rawal who informed the Bench that the CBI had on Wednesday filed closure report in two cases and wanted to close the third case relating to abetment of her suicide.
Rawal said the CBI wanted to file the closure report in the third case relating to the alleged abetment after obtaining the permission of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Following the CBI submission, the apex court had yesterday decided to grant him bail after also taking into consideration the fact that he has already served close to six months in jail.
The CBI had on Wednesday filed a closure report in two of the three fresh cases registered against Rathore following allegations by the brother and the father of Ruchika.
The two cases related to the accusation against the top cop that he had doctored Ruchika's post mortem report and that he was behind the custodial torture of her brother Ashu.