December 25, 2009
Anand Parkash and his wife took over the fight as Ruchika's family fell silent after her death. Prakash says Rathore offered to settle the case out of court, but his reply was: the only person who had a right to settle it was dead.
By appearance, 67-year-old Anand Parkash seems diminutive -- a little over five feet tall and with a voice so soft that one has to strain ears to hear him properly. But it was this man's steely resolve and endurance that brought about the conviction of former Haryana DGP S P S Rathore in the Ruchika molestation case.
As the case dragged over 19 years, he visited various courts in different cities, more than 450 times. Ask him about the expenditure and the trouble he encountered fighting the battle for the girl who was his daughter's best friend, he says, "If you start fretting over these things, you cannot fight a battle."
"One has to be optimistic and have faith in God. Believe me, there are good people too. For example, our lawyers, Pankaj Bhardwaj of the Punjab and Haryana HC and Meet Malhotra of the Supreme Court, did not charge a single penny from us."
When asked about Rathore's punishment, he shrugs, "If you ask me, the quantum of punishment is not sufficient. But our purpose was to bring conviction, which we did. It is a matter of great disgrace for a government officer to be convicted."
Parkash recollects the start of the battle. "I still remember that day, when I heard Ruchika and my daughter Aradhana talking to my wife Madhu in our house.
I was in another room but when I heard sounds of muffled sobs I entered the room and the girls confided in me," he says. "Ruchika did not have a mother, and she and my daughter had developed a strong friendship over the years. I knew the family well and had to stand by them in their hour of distress." It was he who warned Ruchika's father not to go and meet Rathore at his residence. "Rathore had called him through a written message which was not even signed. The message which was carried by one of his men, read that her father should come alone. I had every reason to be suspicious, especially by going over through Rathore's conduct in the last few days."
After Ruchika's death, her family withdrew into a shell. But Parkash carried on the battle. "It is unfair to blame her father and brother for not pursuing the case. In fact, they had given me an affidavit under which I could act on their behalf. I was harassed as well. I was a Haryana government employee. Out of the blue disciplinary charges were slapped against me. I was abruptly transferred along with my entire staff to far off places. But I was supported by my wife and daughter who kept fighting."
It was his wife, who filed a criminal petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
"Rathore's men started harassing me. Goons would stalk my daughter but we were not deterred. I remember when my daughter came specially to depose in front of CBI, Rathore used his connections to delay her statement. She was here for over a month but the court did not take her statement until one day before she was to leave for Australia. It was only when we protested and threatened to complain, that they took her version," says Parkash.
Did Rathore try to influence him as well? "Yes, he did. He even offered to settle it outside the court. To which I said that the only person who had a right to settle it was now dead. It was a disgraceful offer."
Parkash is not satisfied with the outcome so far."The battle has only started.
I now want to expose every official and politician who shielded Rathore and suppressed facts."
He doesn't like a job unfinished.
A 19 year wait: The case file
Ruchika and her friend Aradhana were members of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association, of which S P S Rathore (then IGP, Haryana) was the president. A chronology of the events recorded in the case:
AUG 11, 1990: Rathore visits Ruchika's house at noon. Persuades her father, S C Girhotra, a bank manager, not to send Ruchika to Canada. Promises special training for the teenager. Asks her father to tell Ruchika to visit his office-cum residence the next day.
AUG 12: Ruchika and Aradhana visit Rathore's office. Rathore asks Aradhana to fetch the coach. Aradhana returns and finds Rathore molesting Ruchika. On seeing her, Rathore lets go Ruchika, who rushes out of the room. Rathore asks Aradhana to talk to Ruchika and that "he would do whatever she would say".
The girls decide not to talk about the incident to their parents, considering Rathore's powerful position.
AUG 14: Ruchika and Aradhana go to the tennis court. Rathore calls Ruchika again to his office. This time, the girls decide to share it with the parents. Ruchika confides in Aradhana's mother, Madhu Parkash.
AUG 15: Both families along with parents of other HLTA trainees hand over a written complaint to Home Secretary J S Duggal. The Chief Minister marks it to then DGP R R Singh.
AUG 26: The DGP summons Rathore. In retaliation, Rathore allegedly arranges 45-50 hoodlums who raise slogans against Ruchika and smash the windowpanes of her house.
SEPT 3: DGP's report finds the allegations true, recommends registration of case and investigation by CID.
MARCH 11, 1991: Change of government brings new DGP, RK Hooda, who too recommends departmental action against Rathore.
1992: Government agrees that an FIR can be registered against Rathore. Case transferred to Chief Secretary.
AUG 12, 1992: First of the six auto theft FIRs registered against Ashu, Ruchika's brother.
OCT 23, 1993: Ashu arrested, kept in custody for two months. He was beaten up in custody and one day taken to his house, where Ruchika was told that her father would meet the same fate if she did not withdraw the complaint.
DEC 28: Ruchika consumes poison, dies next day. Ashu released.
JAN 1994: Government withdraws all charges against Rathore.
APRIL 1997: Ashu discharged from all theft cases.
NOV 1997: Aradhana's mother files a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. A year later, court directs CBI to conduct an inquiry.
DEC 1999: Supreme Court upholds the order of High Court.
JAN 2000: CBI files chargesheet against Rathore, recommends his removal in interest of "free and fair deposition".
JULY 2002: Rathore retires as DGP .
NOV 2009: Case transferred to CBI Chandigarh.
DEC 11, 2009: Court closes all final arguments and sets the date for verdict.
Source: The Indian Express
Posted by Naxal Watch at 6:05 AM