Aarti Dhar/J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI: The former Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala, on Friday denied that he shielded the former Director-General of Police, S.P.S. Rathore, who was sentenced to six-month rigorous imprisonment for molesting a 14-year-old girl in 1990. She committed suicide in 1993.
Mr. Chautala sought to put the blame on his Congress successors, Bhajan Lal and Bansi Lal, accusing them of promoting Mr. Rathore as DGP and dropping the charges against him. Mr Bhajan Lal now heads the Haryana Vikas Party.
Addressing journalists here, Mr. Chautala said that when he came to power in 1993, Mr. Rathore was placed under suspension soon after the CBI filed a charge sheet against him. He denied that he had received any complaint from the victim’s family.
The victim’s father accused Mr. Chautala of shielding Mr. Rathore and delaying registration of the case against him. The then DGP, R.R. Singh, and the former Home Secretary, J.K. Duggal, have also spoken about “political pressure” being brought on them to bury the case.
Mr. Chautala said that when the molestation took place on August 12, 1990, Master Hukam Singh of the erstwhile Lok Dal was Chief Minister, and he asked Mr. R.R. Singh, to investigate the matter. An entry (DD) was made against Mr. Rathore on August 18. On March 13 next, Master Hukam Singh gave his consent for a departmental enquiry and the filing of a charge sheet against Mr. Rathore.
Mr. Chautala said he was Chief Minister between March 22, 1991 and April 6, 1991, but the matter was never brought to his notice. After the Governor’s rule ended in Haryana, the Congress, led by Mr. Bhajan Lal, formed the government on July 23, 1991, and he was at the helm till May 9, 1996. During this period, atrocities were committed on the victim’s family: 11 false cases were slapped on the girl’s brother, and he was kept in illegal detention for two months. The charges framed against Mr. Rathore were quietly dropped in April 1994, and he was promoted Additional DGP. In May 1996, Mr Bansi Lal became Chief Minister and he promoted Mr. Rathore DGP, though he had been placed under suspension in connection with the grant of parole to an accused. But he was reinstated in March 1999.
But the Congress accused Mr. Chautala of trying to politicise the case. Terming his statement “most unfortunate,” party spokesman Manish Tewari said he reacted to the national outrage in the most “insensitive and callous manner.”