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NID student stabs molester cop Rathore
Published on 9 Feb. 2010 12:08 AM IST
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Former Haryana police chief S.P.S. Rathore, convicted of molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra in 1990, was stabbed thrice in the face by a youth wielding a pen-knife outside the district court complex here Monday. An injured Rathore, however, returned in a couple of hours for the post-lunch session of the first day of the three-day continuous in-camera hearing that started Monday to appeal against his conviction. The Chandigarh police arrested the 29-year-old attacker, Utsav Sharma, who belongs to Varanasi and is pursuing film production at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad. Utsav was booked under Section 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). As Rathore stepped out of the complex in Sector 17 and was headed towards his car, the young attacker, posing as a freelance journalist, caught him by the neck and in a split second stabbed him thrice. His wife and counsel Abha Rathore was with him at the time. While lawyers immediately took stunned Rathore, who bled from his right cheek and neck, to the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, police swooped down on the youth and seized the knife from him. Rathore’s other counsel, Narayan Dutt Sharma from Jaipur, was also injured in the attack and was admitted to hospital. Rathore returned for the hearing with a bandage on his cheek and neck, and wearing his fawn-coloured ‘bandgala’ jacket with blood stains on it. Though the judge offered to adjourn the ‘in-camera’ trial, Rathore said it could resume. The hearing continued for nearly 30 minutes. Senior Superintendent of Police S.S. Srivastava told IANS that the young man “seemed to be mentally unstable” and was living in nearby Panchkula town for about a month. “We have spoken to his family in Varanasi and to his doctor in Ahmedabad under whom he was undergoing treatment for a psychological problem. He suffers from mood disorder syndrome,” Srivastava told reporters later. “There does not seem to be any motive behind the attack. He seemed angry and got a feeling that justice has not been done to this girl (Ruchika) and he carried out the attack under psychological imbalance,” Srivastava added. A bright student, who had bagged a merit scholarship during his Bachelor in Fine Arts course from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Utsav belongs to a family of academicians. While his father S.K. Sharma is a professor in the mechanical engineering department at the BHU, his mother teaches in the department of psychiatry. A shocked Professor Sharma said: “He (Utsav) used to say he could not tolerate injustice and talked on such matters.... Be it my son or anyone, no one is allowed to take law in his hands.” Pankaj Bhardwaj, lawyer for Anand and Madhu Prakash, the parents of Ruchika’s friend Aradhana, who have been fighting the case for over 19 years, said that the judge has adjourned Tuesday’s hearing to Wednesday. Anand later told reporters that the attack on Rathore was not justified. “This attack is wrong. We have been fighting the case against Rathore for so many years. The legal system is working. This (attack) is not justified,” Anand said. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court held Rathore guilty in December last year for molesting 15-year-old Ruchika in Panchkula town in August 1990. She committed suicide three years later. He was sentenced to six months’ rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs.1,000 in the 19-year-old molestation case. Rathore was granted bail immediately after his conviction. The court is hearing two matters, one related to the appeal filed by Rathore against his conviction for molestation by the CBI special court and the second on the application moved by CBI seeking enhancement of his sentence from six months to two years of rigorous imprisonment.

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