Ruchika case: Supreme Court grants bail to Rathore (Night Lead)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Delhi, Nov. 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday granted bail to former Haryana director general of police S.P.S. Rathore, who is serving an 18-month jail sentence in the 1990 Ruchika Girhotra molestation case.

He (Rathore) shall not leave the country without specific permission of the chief judicial magistrate, Chandigarh,” said an apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan while giving him bail.

The court also recorded the statement of the senior counsel Uday Lalit that the passport of Rathore was deposited with the additional session judge, Chandigarh.

The court also said that at last hearing of the case Oct 27 the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that investigations into three first information reports (FIRs) against Rathore was going on and was not inclined for the grant of bail to Rathore.

On Thursday, the court took note of the CBI submission that in two of the three FIRs the investigating agency had filed a closure report and even in the third FIR it would do so after getting the go-ahead from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

When Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal said that he would like the court to impose some conditions, Justice Sathasivam said: You could have been justified in asking for the conditionalities if cases were pending. You have already said that cases are closed.”

The apex court observed that even in life sentence cases, courts consider pleas for convict’s bail after the completion of five years of jail term.

The court noted that in the present case Rathore has already undergone the six months imprisonment which was originally awarded by the trial court.

It was only subsequently that the sentence was enhanced to 18 months on an appeal by the CBI.

Counsel Vikas Mehta, appearing for the victim’s family, told that court that the conduct of Rathore should be considered before granting him bail.

The counsel told the court that Rathore was an influential person and 12 cases were slapped on Ruchika’s family at his behest.

Justice Sathasivsan said that his case was answered by the closure report filed by the CBI.

Rathore, 69, is currently lodged in the high-security Burail Jail in Chandigarh, where he is serving his sentence for molesting 14-year-old Ruchika. The teen committed suicide in 1993 due to the harassment.

Rathore was sentenced to 18 months’ rigorous imprisonment by a district and sessions court of Chandigarh May 25.

At the time of Ruchika’s molestation, Rathore was deputy inspector general of Haryana Police and headed the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA). The budding tennis player was molested by Rathore at the Panchkula-based office of the HLTA.

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