Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat met Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda here to demand an independent probe into the alleged political patronage enjoyed by the former Haryana Director General of Police, S.P.S. Rathore, even after he was indicted in the case.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Ms. Karat said that while Mr. Hooda favoured the “reopening” of the case, he was “non-committal” on the demand for a probe into the alleged political shelter the former DGP enjoyed at the hands of successive governments.
Ms. Karat, accompanied by friends of the victim’s family, also impressed upon Mr. Hooda the need to ensure that Mr. Rathore’s bail was cancelled.
BJP seeks fresh trial
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson and MP Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded a fresh trial in the case, pointing out that the former DGP’s involvement in the molestation incident showed a “systematic abuse of the entire system.” He said that it was high time the Haryana government approached the Supreme Court with the plea for a fresh trial.
Mr. Prasad said that institution of false cases against the girl’s brother, challenge of the lower court’s orders at every stage and fudging of the post-mortem report pointed to the “ability of a powerful man to abuse the entire system.”
Chandigarh Staff Reporter writes:
Meanwhile, the victim’s family has decided to claim monetary compensation from not only Mr. Rathore but also the State of Haryana. Demanding that Rathore be stripped of all honours, advocate Pankaj Bhardwaj said: “No amount of money can compensate the family but since it has faced so much hardship — the daughter dead, and son falsely accused and put in jail — it’s the responsibility of the State government to help them. I won’t use the word compensation but monetary help has to be given to the family.”
“The State is equally responsible since it did not take any action against Mr. Rathore and instead promoted him DGP. If they [State government] don’t do this on their own, we will be constrained to go to court,” said Mr. Bhardwaj, who has fought, free of cost, for justice in the last 13 years. “The family needs money because victim’s father has been suspended from his job and they should be given some interim monetary help.”
Talking to The Hindu on the phone from New Delhi, the lawyer raised questions on the post mortem report of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here. “The medical report, which played a crucial role in the trial, has some anomalies in it. The report, submitted to the police after the teenage tennis player committed suicide, stated that she died due to an excessive intake of obesity medicine.” This was an “attempt to hush up the matter by citing intake of slimming pills as the cause of death so that various medical formalities and legal intricacies could be escaped.”
Urging the Supreme Court to reopen the case, Anand Prakash, one of the complainants and father of the lone eyewitness to the molestation, said: “The case must be reopened and Mr. Rathore should be charged with abetment to suicide as he alone was responsible for the girl’s death.”
Interestingly, the 10-year long trial proceedings were recorded on camera. The entire evidence, a 3,000-page fileand 100-odd tapes, out of which the Chandigarh court has 26, have become one of the most sought-after pieces of information under the Right to Information Act. While the evidence has been kept sealed and is now strictly guarded, over 20 RTI applicants have sought details.
On Saturday, volunteers from various sections of society and representatives of the Citizens Forum on Human Rights formed a human chain in Sector 17, commercial hub of the city, to raise their voice against the injustice meted out to the girl and her family
Led by Aradhana, the only eyewitness in the case, the volunteers also raised slogans against Mr. Rathore. She said that it was shameful that despite the heinous crime, Mr. Rathore was a ‘free man.’