A sessions court here on Tuesday enhanced the sentence of former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore from six months to one-and-a-half years prison term for molesting 14-year-old Ruchika Girhotra 20 years back, following which the disgraced top policeman was arrested by the CBI.
Pronouncing the verdict in a packed court room, Additional District and Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh dismissed the appeal filed by the 68-year-old Rathore challenging the six months jail term awarded earlier.
The court directed that Rathore be taken to the local Burial Jail immediately following the dismissal of his appeal and enhancement of the sentence after which he was taken into custody by the CBI.
After the sentencing, Rathore looked grim and his smirk missing but put up a brave face telling reporters, "I will keep smiling".
Welcoming the verdict, Ruchika's father SC Girhotra said, "We are satisfied (with the court's verdict) as justice has been delivered."
However, Girhotra said the battle against Rathore would continue till abetment to suicide charge against him is proved. "We will continue to fight till he is charged under section 306 of IPC," he said.
Reacting to the verdict Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily said laws related to molestation cases need to be toughened.
"It is a lesson to those who are in high places that they can't get away. The present law needs to be toughened and new law will speed up cases and give tough punishment. I reassure everyone that justice will be done to all," said Moily.
Union Women and Child develpment Minister Krishna Tirath underlined the need for fast track courts to expedite trials in crimes against women.
"We need fast track court to expedite trials on crimes against women. A panel has already been set up by Home Ministry," said Tirath.
Rathore was sentenced to six months' rigorous imprisonment on December 21 last year by CBI Judge J S Sidhu for molesting Ruchika in Panchkula on August 12, 1990. Three years after the incident, Ruchika committed suicide by consuming poison.
The quantum of sentence had sparked an outrage in the country.
Rathore had sought setting aside the trial court verdict against him while Ruchika's family and the CBI had pleaded for enhancement of punishment to the maximum of two years provided in the law.
The court directed the jail superintendent to provide proper medical care to Rathore, if required, following an application by his lawyer-wife Abha that he was a heart patient and required care.
The court allowed Rathore's plea for getting himself examined at the cardiac care department of the Post Graduate & Medical Education.