CBI's role in Ruchika molestation case dubious, says lawyer

Ruchika Girhotra, S P S RathoreChandigarh, Dec 25 : Lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj, who has fought Ruchika Girhotra's molestation case free of cost for the last 13 years, says that the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) role in probing the charges against Haryana's former top cop S. P. S. Rathore seems dubious and termed the court's verdict "disappointing".

"We had got all the evidence against the main accused Rathore on the record but still the investigation part carried many loopholes and they tried their best to shield the guilty officer. Role of the CBI is under a scanner and we are not satisfied with it," said Bhardwaj, lawyer of Anand and Madhu Prakash whose daughter Aradhana was Ruchika's friend and only witness in the case.

"Rathore is an influential man and he can easily get things manipulated in his favour. The CBI court's verdict is also very disappointing. This case has proved that it is very difficult for an ordinary man to pursue a court case," Bhardwaj told IANS here.

A special CBI court in Chandigarh had Monday held Rathore, former Haryana director general of police (DGP), guilty of molesting 14-year-old Ruchika in Panchkula town Aug 12, 1990 and sentenced him to a six-month prison term. The budding tennis player had committed suicide three years after the incident.

Bhardwaj, who practices in the Punjab and Haryana High Court here, said he associated himself with the case as he was moved by the molestation of the teenager and the subsequent harassment her family underwent.

"Anand Prakash came to me in 1996 only and requested me to fight this case. I was so shocked after studying the case details that I could not sleep for next two days after meeting him," the lawyer recalled.

"An innocent teenage girl was molested and then the social stigma and harassment forced her to commit suicide. It was intolerable for me. I immediately took the case and decided to fight it free of cost," he said.

Bhardwaj, who spent a huge chunk of his time and resources while pursuing the case, also faced the heat as two defamation cases were slapped against him.

About their future strategy, Bhardwaj said: "We have our options open in this case. We cannot let Rathore get away so lightly in this case. The CBI needs to look afresh at the case and nail Rathore for abetment to suicide."

Anand and Madhu Prakash relentlessly fought against all odds for over 19 years after Ruchika's family was constantly harassed ever since the case was filed against Rathore.

Her brother Ashu was falsely framed in several cases of car thefts and allegely tortured by the Haryana police at the behest of Rathore.(IANS)




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