Family of the teenage tennis player, who committed suicide in 1993 due to molestation and harassment, has decided to claim monetary compensation not only from former Haryana Director General of Police S.P.S. Rathore but also from the State of Haryana which is ‘equally responsible’ in their opinion.
Demanding that Rathore, convicted of molesting a 14-year-old girl in 1990, be stripped of all honours, advocate Pankaj Bhardwaj, counsel for Anand Prakash said that Mr. Rathore and the Haryana government should compensate the victim’s family monetarily. “No amount of money can compensate them but since they have faced so much hardship, their daughter died and the son was 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 to the rank of Director General of Police. If they (State government) don’t do this on their own then we will be constrained to go to a court of law,” said Bhardwaj, who has fought the molestation case free of cost for the last 13 years, adding that “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 over 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 court’s trail also has some anomalies in it. The report, submitted to the police after the teenage tennis player committed suicide, stated that she died due to excessive intake of obesity medicine.” He added that, “There was an attempt to hush up the matter by citing intake of slimming pills as 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 eye witness to the molestation incident said, “the case must be reopened and Mr. Rathore should be charged with the abetment to suicide charge as he was the lone reason behind suicide of the teenaged girl. Also the concerned authorities should intervene and to strip him of all rewards and medals immediately.”
Interestingly, the 10-year long trail proceedings were in-camera and the entire evidence, a 3,000-page file, judgement authorities, and some 100-odd tapes, out of which Chandigarh court has 26, have become one of the most sought after pieces of information by the Right to Information (RTI) users of the city. While the evidence was sealed and is now strictly guarded, over 20 RTI applications have sought details of the case.
Volunteers from various sections of society and representatives of Citizen Forum on Human Rights on Saturday formed a human chain in Sector 17, the commercial hub of the city, to raise their voice against ‘injustice’ in the molestation case. 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.’ “If we had a system where the accused would have been punished immediately, a teenager’s life could have been saved, but Mr. Rathore being an influential person created such circumstances that she and her family went through a harrowing time.” The volunteers demanded reopening of the case and more rigorous punishment for Mr. Rathore.