SPS Rathore was convicted of molesting a 14-year-old in 1990, three years before she committed suicide allegedly due to police harassment over the case.
New Delhi: The former Haryana director general of police, SPS Rathore, convicted of molesting a minor in 1990, was reportedly among the dignitaries at the district-level Republic Day event held in Panchkula. According to the Times of India, Rathore was seated in the first row along with the superintendent of police. He even took the guard of honour and left soon after the flag-hoisting ceremony on Friday.
In 2009, a special CBI court convicted the former policeman of molesting 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra in August 1990 – Rathore was the president of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association at the time and Girhotra an aspiring tennis player. The incident reportedly occurred at his house-cum-association office in Panchkula. Rathore’s conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2016.
She and one witness had reported the incident to the police. According to Scroll, when Girhotra spoke about the incident, she was expelled from her school citing “indiscipline.” She committed suicide nearly three years later in December 1993, allegedly due to police harassment.
In 2010, a sessions court convicted Rathore and sentenced him to 18 months in jail. The conviction was upheld by the Punjab and Haryana high court as well. While the apex court upheld the conviction six year later, it reduced the sentence to time served.
Aradhana Gupta, a friend of Girhotra who was present with her when she was attacked and whose testimony had led to Rathore’s conviction in the trial court, said that his presence at the event was a “disgrace” to the national flag. “He must have been invited to the function. It is shameless on the part of the local administration. By endorsing such criminals, who have been convicted by the Supreme Court, the administration is directly encouraging such crimes,” Gupta was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
Calling for an explanation from the administration, Gupta said: “No girl can feel secure with such behaviour of the administration.”
Madhu Prakash, the girl’s mother, called the behaviour of the local administrators as being “insensitive.” “It is a disgrace to our constitution and an insult to the verdict of the Supreme Court, which held him guilty,” she said.
According to Hindustan Times, there was no response from the organisers or the additional deputy commissioner Mukul Kumar. A senior official, on the other hand, said that there must have been some mistake on the part of the administration in including Rathore as one of the invitees.