December 22, 2009 6:04:40 am
Despite being replete with loopholes and improbabilities,S P S Rathores version of the facts in the Ruchika molestation case found strong backing in the corridors of power. The first contention he made in his version ,which he submitted to the court,was that Ruchika was expelled from the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA) because of indiscipline. He said action was taken against her as she made fun of a boy on the tennis court saying that he did not possess muscles like Salman Khan. The year was 1990 and Salman was far from acquiring his now-fabled muscles,but that perhaps did not occur to Rathore and his lawyers.
Fifteen days after the alleged molestation,an investigation report conducted by the then DGP of the state,R R Singh,concluded that allegations were prima facie true and a case under appropriate sections of IPC be registered.
My observation is that in Indian society no girl or parent would lodge a false complaint of physical molestation… In this case,I am of the considered view that whatever Ruchika,a girl of 15 years,has stated about her molestation by S P S Rathore is based on fact.
Rathore said the allegations were untrue and R R Singh had written the adverse report as he had a grudge against him. The grudge,said Rathore,went back to 1976,when he took over from Singh as police chief of Rohtak and in turn took possession of the house which R R Singh wanted to stay in.
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Then,the then home secretary J S Duggal wanted to initiate action against Rathore,but he (Rathore) claimed that Duggal too had a grudge against him because he headed a rival tennis training association. Rathore alleged that Duggal had influenced the SDM who had reached the spot and concluded that Ruchikas expulsion from HLTA was unjustified.
How can I molest a girl in 15-20 seconds? Rathore had asked.
When the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reached a conclusion that Rathore was guilty,the then Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala came to Rathores rescue,refusing to take action on the report saying that CBI is known to falsely convict innocent people. Rathore was later promoted to the rank of DGP.
All this while,a systematic campaign against Ruchikas family was in progress. She was expelled from Sacred Heart convent,a school in which she had studied since Class I. The school did not give any reason for its action.
Rathore used it to suggest that Ruchika was of bad character and hence the case made against him was wrong. Six automobile theft cases were made against Ruchikas teenage brother Ashu. The fact that all of them were dated after August 12,1990 (the day Rathore allegedly molested Ruchika) did not ring a bell. Ashu underwent torture in police custody and was subsequently exonerated in all the cases. A depressed Ruchika committed suicide and government showed amazing alacrity in closing the case file against Rathore in less than a week after her death.
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