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Service record, moral fibre different things, Rathore told


Chandigarh : Rejecting former Haryana director general of police (DGP) S.P.S. Rathore’s plea that his meritorious service record be kept in mind while deciding on the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here said this record did not guarantee high moral character.

“Meritorious service record and high moral character are two different things. A person can be competent and efficient, but he may not having a high moral character. Merely on the grounds of meritorious services, it cannot be presumed that anybody will not commit the act of molestation,” said the court in its verdict given here Monday.

Convicting Ratghore in the Ruchika molestation case, the CBI special court Judge J.S. Sidhu turned down defence counsel’s plea on the ground that extraordinary track record of the accused did not make him of high moral character as well.

“In the circumstances, when direct evidence is available on record, this plea cannot be relied upon,” pointed out the judge.

The court Monday convicted Rathore for the Aug 12, 1990, molestation of 14-year-old Ruchika, awarding him a six-month jail term and imposed on him a fine of Rs.1,000. Rathore was immediately let off on bail to enable him to appeal against the verdict in a higher court.

The judgment added: “The convict had assaulted and used force against victim Ruchika with an intention to outrage her modesty. He caught hold of her hand and waist, dragged her towards him and embraced her against her will and outraged her modesty. The allegations against the convict are of moral turpitude.”

Ruchika, who with her family faced harassment from Rathore and the system, including her expulsion from a leading girls’ school in Chandigarh, committed suicide Dec 1993, three years after the molestation incident.

However, complainants Anand and Madhu Prakash, whose daughter Aradhana was the prime witness to the molestation incident, and their lawyer said they are not satisfied with the court’s verdict.

“Just a six-month punishment stands nowhere before the quantum of the crime. The court should have given some exemplary punishment in this case,” Pankaj Bhardwaj, the complainant’s lawyer, told IANS Wednesday.