Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Working on the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case leaves you with a feeling of utter helplessness and sheer frustration. Unrepentant policemen, bureaucrats and politicians even today – 19 years after they let down Ruchika and her family.

They literally forced her to commit suicide. They are perhaps as guilty as Rathore. It is because of people like them, Rathore came out of the court room smirking at the system. Six months for a life!


Hukum Singh, former chief minister of Haryana, Sampat Singh former home minister of Haryana are perhaps as guilty as Shambhu Pratap Singh Rathore, the evil child molester. On Centre Stage was R.R. Singh, former Director General of Police Haryana and J.K. Duggal, former home secretary Haryana.

R.R. Singh, then the senior most serving police officer – DGP of the state – carried out an inquiry and recommended that a case of molestation be filed against Rathore. This is what the CBI said in its charge sheet.

``After conducting the enquiry into the incident, Sh RR Singh concluded that whatever Ms Ruchika had stated about her molestation by Sh SPS Rathore was based on true facts and that he was of the considered opinion that a cognizable offence was made out. Sh RR Singh, therefore, had recommended registration of a case under appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code and had forwarded his enquiry report 3.9.90 to the Home Secretary Govt of Haryana.

Despite this no action was taken against Rathore. Why?

RR Singh told me he had forwarded his report to JK Duggal, then Home Secretary. Duggal told me he had forwarded the report to Sampat Singh, then home minister Haryana in September 1990 itself, less than a month after the molestation. And yet nothing was done against SPS Rathore. Why?

According to both RR Singh and JK Duggal, then home minister Sampat Singh was to blame. He sat on the report. Sampat Singh was also on Centre Stage. He blamed then chief minister Hukum Singh for sitting on the file.

My only point to Sampat Singh was had he taken action against Rathore in September 1990 itself or even in October, Ruchika might still have been alive. God forbid had their own daughters been at the receiving end of this evil man’s designs would they have been satisfied with just pushing files from one table to the other.

Evil needs to be nipped in the bud. These men by their sheer inaction – had encouraged Rathore. Duggal and RR Singh insisted politicians did not permit them to take action against Rathore.

While the two officers did the right thing on file, I still cannot comprehend how they could be content by just recommending action on file and forgetting about it completely. After all it was the life of a 14 year old girl. Both RR Singh and Duggal continued to live in Haryana. They were reading newspapers and knew about the torture Ruchika and her family underwent. And yet!

This is worse than the court of later Mughals where the order of the Mughal court was not even implemented from Delhi to Palam.


I sat shocked as Ruchika’s father Subhash Chandra Girhotra wept and narrated how Rathore unleashed the worst form of harassment and torture over the next three years forcing Ruchika to end her life.

What was Rathore – a Mafiosi in uniform? Nobody had the power to touch him as he unleashed the worst form of terror on a regular middle class family. Rathore allegedly put pressure on Sacred Heart School (where incidentally his own daughter Priyanjali also studied and was Ruchika’s classmate) to expel Ruchika on grounds of indiscipline and non payment of fees.

A case should be registered against the school principal and management for buckling under this evil man’s pressure. They too have Ruchika’s blood on their hands. There is nothing sacred about the Sacred Heart School of Chandigarh’s sector-26.

When Ruchika’s father still did not take back the complaint against Rathore, Ashu, Ruchika’s brother was picked up by the police. He was booked under several false cases of car theft. Beaten up, paraded handcuffed and tortured in custody.

Ruchika’s father was crying when he said on our show that Rathore forced him to sell off his house in Panchkula and flee the city.

But the horror had still not ended. Ruchika consumed pesticide. Rathore is accused of tampering with the post mortem report and getting the doctors to say she died of an overdose of anti-obesity pills.

That is not all. According to SC Girhotra, he ensured Ruchika’s body was released only after Ruchika’s father signed on some blank papers. Ashu was released from police custody only after Ruchika’s funeral. Not just that Girhotra told us that Rathore did not release Ruchika’s body till the time the family signed some blank papers.


The CBI knew all of this. All of it. The people of Chandigarh and Panchkula knew it. The judges knew it. And yet it took 9 years for an FIR – first information report to be registered against Rathore. Worse – the CBI did not mention any of this in its chargesheet.

Look at the limp CBI chargesheet when it talks of Ruchika’s suicide. On page 10, the CBI says ``The investigation has also disclosed that after the incident of molestation Ms Ruchika remained confined to her house and remained depressed. Later Ms Ruchika committed suicide by consuming poison on 28.12.93 and died on 29.12.93.’’

Rajesh Ranjan, then CBI Deputy Inspector General of Police owes not just Ruchika’s family but the nation an explanation. Why such a limp charge sheet? Is loyalty to lanyard more important than the fight for justice.

Why did the CBI not make Ashu a prosecution witness?
Why was a case of filing false cases and fabrication of evidence not registered against Rathore?
Why was he not booked for intimidation of witnesses?
Why was Ruchika’s school not booked for abetment to suicide?
Why were Haryana politicians, bureaucrats and cops not questioned and booked for ``sitting on the file.’’


Clearly Rathore knew he was above the law. Politicians – from Hukum Singh, Bhajan Lal, Bansi Lal to Om Prakash Chautala – nobody did anything to stop him. They all knew what he was up to. Today these politicians are crawling out of the wood work trying to say they are not guilty. But they are. They promoted him, gave him police medals for meritorious service, made him director general of police of Haryana and above all failed to uphold the dignity of the law.

And that is why even after 19 years Rathore walked out of the courtroom with a smirk on his face. He had beaten the system. For 19 years of pain and trauma he caused – all he got was 6 months of jail (bail within an hour) and Rs 1,000 rupee fine.

The punishment for molesting a minor girl in this country if you are SPS Rathore is only 6 months imprisonment and a fine that is perhaps equal to being challaned while driving and talking on your cell phone.


Reopen the abetment to suicide case. Hear it in a time bound manner.
Take away his pension and police medal forthwith.
Identify the policemen, bureaucrats and politicians who sat on the files.
Proceed against them for their acts of omission and commission.
Take stern action against the Sacred Heart School authorities for letting down Ruchika.

Award compensation to Ruchika’s brother and father. But not from the state exchequer. Take that money from the salaries and pensions of guilty officials and politicians.

Restore our faith in the system! Enough is enough!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


1. After a series of attacks in crowded market places, hospitals, mosques and offices in Multan, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Peshawar - targetting innocent people and security forces including the all powerful army - will Pakistan even begin to understand the pain and agony of India bleeding for over two decades ?

2. After the attack on the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the attempted attack on the naval headquarters, will Pakistan understand the pain and agony of the attack on the Kaluchak military station ?

3. Will Pakistan now understand the pain and agony of the attacks on Raghunath temple, Sankatmochan temple, Akshardham temple and the Amarnath Yatris. `Not even safe in God's home,' wept a headline in a Pakistani newspaper - the day after the Parade Ground mosque attack.

Trained by elements in the ISI and the Pakistan army to attack markets, hospitals, temples and the army in India, the terrorists having mastered the `art of mayhem' are now unleashing terror inside Pakistan. The Pakistan army and ISI trained them to kill innocent civilians - unsuspecting shoppers and worshippers - the terrorists are doing just that. Except now instead of India they are doing it inside Pakistan.

India - I speak for a large cross section of people I have been interacting with - feels the pain of the people of Pakistan. I have also been speaking to friends on the other side of the border - they realise how Indians suffered for over two decades - and continue to do so - live with fear - of a sudden blast - a terror attack. Who is responsible for this - perhaps General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Pakistan's chief of the army staff and his trusted director general of inter services intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Shuja Pasha need to actually do some soul searching.

On Friday, December 4, armed terrorists opened fire and hurled grenades inside the Parade Ground Mosque, next to the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

One Major General (Umar Bilal), director general of Pakistan's mechanised forces, one brigadier general, two lieutenant colonels and two majors were among 40 killed. Lieutenant General Masood Aslam, a top commander overlooking Waziristan operations lost his son. In all 17 children were killed in the terrorist attack.

And this is what General Kayani said: ``The nation, including the army, stands united in sharing their grief. Pakistan is our motherland. It is the bastion of Islam and we live for the glory of Islam and Pakistan. Our faith, resolve and pride in our religion and in our country is an asset, which is further reinforced after each terrorist incident.''

Terror attacks, anywhere in the world are painful. The pictures of wailing families, tears, pain and coffins are all too familiar. India has been hurt so often and by the same set of people who are now attacking Pakistan; and more importantly their military establishment.

But the 1.5 billion dollar a year question is will it jolt Pakistan finally to cut that umblical cord which funds, feeds, trains and arms the terrorist organisations. It is not without reason that Pakistan is called the terror epicentre of the world and former US secretary of state madeline albright felt Pakistan has all the ingredients to give the world an international migrane.

Now that migrane is cancerous. That cancer is eating Pakistan from within. Even as I write there are reports of another terrorist attack inside Pakistan. The ISI office in Multan was targetted killing 10 people including the two bombers. On November 13 too the ISI office in Peshawar was attacked. Clearly, the Frankenstien's monster is striking with alarming frequency.


Mosques are increasingly coming under attack in Pakistan. Terrorists slamming explosive laden vehicles and suicide bombers have killed more than 350 Pakistanis in 2009. More than 900 have been injured, according to figures released by Pakistan's ministry of interior. This is the favourite style of attack used by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

The December 4, 2009 armed attack targeting the parade ground mosque in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, which killed 44 people including 17 children, was the latest in the series. In one of the worst incidents of terrorism in recent years, a group of six fidayeen attackers belonging to the Tehrik-e-Taliban stormed the crowded Parade Land Askari Mosque close to the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army during Friday prayers and sprayed gunfire at worshippers besides throwing hand grenades. A serving major general of the Pakistan Army, a brigadier, two lieutenant colonels, a major and a number of soldiers were among those killed in a multi-pronged attack which was carried out in cold blood while violating the sanctity of a mosque by those who claim to be fighting for the glory of Islam. The blood-spattered episode eventually came to an end after two suicide bombers blew themselves up.

For the terrorists - claiming to fight a jihad for Islam, nothing is sacred, not even the home of God! Even the people of Pakistan, I am sure realise, this so called jihad is just a sham - for the terrorists and their handlers it is an industry, a business, an occupation.


Despite repeated attacks on the Pakistan army and the ISI, powerful elements within the Pakistan security establishment continue to support the terrorists. Why would they continue to sleep with the enemy ? Two reasons - the strategic depth in Afghanistan and to bleed India.

Al Qaeda, Taliban and Pakistan realise they only have to lie low for the next 18 months. As soon as US president Barack Obama begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, the battle will be won. For 9 long years, Pakistan and Al Qaeda took on the US and allied forces in the firm belief that US and Europe do not have a strong belly to take body bags and sooner than later they will run. Barack Obama while announcing the surge, also gave a date for Al Qaeda to slowly start re-asserting itself. 18 months from January 2010.

Pakistan will once again prop a dummy Taliban like government in Afghanistan and win back its strategic depth.

Under pressure from the US Pakistan is fighting terror, though half-heartedly. It wants to shift focus once again on the Indian border; the perceived enemy.


The civil society of Pakistan we are told appreciates terror is the enemy and not India. Lawyers, students and journalists - the real people's strength of Pakistan should start a movement. A people's movement so that the message to the army is loud and clear - Fight terror the real enemy and not India an imagined enemy.

The first step can easily be to dismantle the terror infrastructure aimed at India, arrest and prosecute terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammad's Masood Azhar. Take action against the likes of terrorist commander Ilyas Kashmiri.

Pakistan may be a bastion of Islam, as their chief of army staff claims, but it is for the people of Pakistan and the army to ensure it does not remain a bastion of terror.