Rathore enjoyed patronage of four Haryana chief ministers

S P S RathoreChandigarh, Dec 23 : Disgraced former Haryana director general of police (DGP) S. P. S. Rathore may not be finding many friends after his conviction by a court here in the molestation case of 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra 19 years ago, but the police officer enjoyed the patronage of four successive chief ministers despite the serious charges against him.

Even among parties, the Lok Dal (now Indian National Lok Dal - INLD), Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the now defunct Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) governments continued to promote and probably shield Rathore between 1990 and 2002.

In 1990, when the molestation incident took place in Panchkula, 10 km from here, Aug 12, then chief minister Hukam Singh (Lok Dal) ignored not only the hue and cry after the episode but also an inquiry report by the then DGP, R. R. Singh, which had found Rathore prima facie guilty of molesting the minor girl.

The R. R. Singh report had recommended to the state government that a case be registered against Rathore. Hukam Singh did not allow that.

Between March and June, 1991, Om Prakash Chautala (Lok Dal) became chief minister but he too did not take any action against Rathore.

Rathore, who was an inspector general of police (IGP) at the time of the molestation incident, even got his promotion as additional DGP in 1994 when Bhajan Lal of the Congress was chief minister. The promotion came just a few months after Ruchika committed suicide Dec 1993.

Rathore enjoyed his positions during the entire tenure of Bhajan Lal (June 1991-May 1996). He was elevated as full director general during the Lal government's tenure.

Next chief minister Bansi Lal (HVP, 1996-1999), who remained in power with the support of the BJP, did not take action against Rathore. It was during Bansi Lal's regime in 1998 that the Punjab and Haryana high court ordered a CBI probe against Rathore in the molestation case.

In Oct 1999, the INLD government led by Chautala and supported by BJP made Rathore the police chief (DGP) of the state. He continued to be on this top post till December 2000 despite the CBI charge-sheeting him in the molestation case in January 2000.

Chautala, who made him DGP, Tuesday washed his hands off from Rathore saying he (Rathore) had been promoted by previous governments and he (Chautala) removed him as DGP after the CBI case.

Rathore finally retired in 2002.

A special CBI court here had Monday held Rathore guilty of molesting Ruchika, a budding tennis player, in Panchkula, near here, Aug 12, 1990 and sentenced him to a six-month prison term with a fine of Rs 1,000. The teen had committed suicide three years after the incident.(IANS)