Indian court increases sentence in molestation case

Pti May 25, 2010

CHANDIGARH: A sessions court on Tuesday increased the sentence of former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore from six months to a one-and-a-half year prison term for molesting 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra 20 years ago.

After the incident Rathore was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Pronouncing the verdict in a packed court room, Additional District and Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh dismissed the appeal filed by 68-year-old Rathore challenging the six months jail term awarded earlier. The judge allowed the pleas of CBI and Ruchika’s family for enhancement of his sentence. The court directed that Rathore be taken to the local Burial Jail immediately following dismissal of his appeal and enhancement of the sentence after which he was taken into custody by the CBI.

After the sentencing, Rathore looked grim, his face sans its usual wide grin, but he told reporters, “I will keep smiling”. The former DGP was sentenced to six months’ rigorous imprisonment on December 21 last year by CBI Judge J S Sidhu for molesting Ruchika, a budding tennis player, in Panchkula on August 12, 1990. Three years after the incident, Ruchika committed suicide. The quantum of sentence had sparked an outrage in the country. Rathore was later stripped of his President’s Police Medal.

Rathore had sought setting aside the trial court verdict against him while Ruchika’s family and the CBI had pleaded for enhancement of punishment to the maximum of two years provided in the law. The court directed the jail superintendent to provide proper medical care to Rathore, if required, following an application by his lawyer-wife Abha that he was a heart patient and required care.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 26th, 2010.