A day after a court rejected the anticipatory bail plea of the former Director-General of Police, S.P.S. Rathore, in the case of molestation of a girl, the police are wary of arresting him.

Police officials said on Saturday that they did not want to arrest him in haste.

“Our investigation is still in progress, and we are looking into all aspects of the case before we arrest anyone,” Superintendent of Police Maneesh Chaudhary said.

Asked whether the custodial interrogation of Rathore was an important part of the investigation, he said: “We cannot do things hastily, as we are busy collecting evidence pertaining to these FIRs. We have requested the CBI to take over the investigation, and an arrest at this stage could pre-empt the CBI probe.”

While dismissing Rathore’s anticipatory bail plea, the Panchkula district court said: “The delay gives a clear impression that either the law officers and police officers of the State are incompetent or they are intentionally delaying the matter.” Despite the public outrage and the court order, the police maintain that the “arrest of Rathore might harm further investigations.”

The police said they had recommended that the FIRs against Rathore be investigated by the CBI, so there was no point seeking his interrogation in custody. “The CBI will be taking over this case in the next few days, and we do not want to do anything that might sabotage their investigation,” Mr. Chaudhary said.

The lawyer of the girl’s family, Pankaj Bhardwaj, said: “In normal course, an accused is arrested within 24 hours of a bail plea being rejected. Rathore has not even been questioned, though his custodial interrogation is indispensable.” On Dec. 21, Rathore was convicted of having molested the budding tennis player 19 years ago and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for six months. A Rs. 1,000 fine was imposed on him. Later, three fresh FIRs were registered.

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