Additional District and Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh deferred the verdict to May 25 saying since the judgment is lengthy it is being postponed by five days to provide time to complete the process of writing the judgement.
The Judge had on May 11 last fixed for today verdict on the three pleas– one by the former DGP challenging his six month rigorous imprisonment for “outraging the modesty” of 14-year-old tennis player Ruchika and two appeals by Ruchika’s family and the CBI seeking enhancement of the sentence awarded to him by the trial court.
Rathore and his lawyer wife Abha arrived in the court half-an-hour before the scheduled time 2 PM and sat quietly. Ruchika’s father S C Girhotra and Anand Prakash and Madhu Prakash, parents of the sole eyewitness Aradhna, also came to the court before time.
Ruchika Girhotra’s father S C Girhotra said their fight for justice will continue even after Sessions court verdict on former Haryana police chief SPS Rathore on enhancing his sentence in the molesation case of the budding tennis player.
“We are hopeful Rathore will get maximum punishment (two years) in Ruchika molestation case. But our fight for justice will continue even after that as CBI is investigating abetment to suicide case against him,”Girhotra told reporters.
Rathore was sentenced to six-month imprisonment on December 21 last year by a CBI court for molesting the budding tennis player at Panchakula in Haryana on August 12, 1990.
Reacting on the verdict, Ruchika’s father S C Girhotra told reporters outside the court that there was nothing wrong in the judgement being postponed.
“The Judge could not have completed his judgment. We are hopeful that justice will be done. We have no doubt (on this),” he added.
Anand Prakash said Rathore had aleady been held guilty by the trial court which took a lenient view of his crime due to his age and health. He alleged Rathore misused his position to molest the girl.
“Instead of protecting the child, he molested her,” Prakash said adding it was a premeditated action by the police officer. He said defence presented by the former DGP in the court are after-thoughts.
“16 witnesses, including two retired IAS officers, were presented and it is a strong case in our favour,” he claimed. “We will not leave our fight and take it to its logical end,” he said.
Madhu Prakash said punishment to Rathore will send a strong message to the society that law is equal for all. Ruchika family’s lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj said he was neither upset nor hurt at the postponment. He claimed Rathore’s arrest is imminent after the order of the appelant court next week.
“The only way Rathore can seek bail is that he will have to approach the High Court,” he added.
The court heard the arguments, which began on May three, on a day-to-day basis till May 11. The proceedings were held in-camera.
The disgraced 68-year-old former top Haryana police officer had sought setting aside of the trial court verdict against him while Ruchika’s family and the CBI had sought enhancement of punishment to a maximum of two years provided in the law. Three years after being molested Ruchika committed suicide.