Chandigarh: A man who retired as one of Haryana's most senior policemen has been sentenced to six months in prison for molesting a teenager in 1990. The victim killed herself three years later.
SPS Rathore was an Inspector General in the Haryana Police; 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra filed a case against him, claiming that he molested her. It was a bold step, and the repercussions seemed endless.
Two weeks after an inquiry indicted Rathore, Ruchika was expelled from school for 'indiscipline'. Three years later, her brother was arrested for multiple cases of theft - just one example, her family alleged, of the police exacting revenge. Ruchika killed herself by drinking poison in 1993. She was 17. Immediately after her death, the cases against her brother were dropped. The Girotras left Chandigarh.
It was through the tennis circuit in their home town that Ruchika and her friend, Aradhana Parkash, met SPS Rathore. Ruchika was a promising young tennis player; Rathore, the President of Haryana's Lawn Tennis Federation.
After Ruchika's death, Aradhana, who says she was an eyewitness to Ruchika's sexual abuse, decided she needed to do more. Rathore's professional life had suffered no setback despite his indictment. So she helped to fight for - and win - a CBI inquiry against Rathore in 2000. It was a hollow victory - the charges against Rathore were of molestation; Ruchika's friends and family wanted him to be accused of abetment to suicide amounting to murder.
And now, Rathore's six-month sentence seems like a travesty of justice. He has already been granted bail and says he will appeal against this verdict.