The CBI special court, Haryana, here on Wednesday dismissed revision petitions against the acceptance of closure reports in the cases of alleged custodial torture of Ruchika Girhotra's brother Ashu and alleged forgery of signatures of her father SC Girhotra on her post-mortem report.
The petitions were filed by Anand Prakash, father of Ruchika's friend Aradhana Prakash. Ruchika had committed suicide in 1993, three years after being molested by former director general of police (DGP) SPS Rathore. The latter, who was sentenced to 18 months in jail after being convicted of molestation, is currently out on bail. Anand Prakash and his wife Madhu have attended more than 400 hearings in the molestation case.
After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed the closure reports, the CBI special magistrate, Haryana, had accepted these on June 1, 2012, as Ashu and SC Girhotra did not object to the findings. Prakash submitted that he was one of the complainants in the case along with the Girhotras, based on which the FIR was registered, but the CBI magistrate accepted the report without giving him the notice by "throwing all norms and rules of natural justice to the winds".
What order says?
CBI special judge Najar Singh ruled that Prakash "has failed to point out any illegality or infirmity" in the CBI magistrate's order. He added that "the order passed by the learned special magistrate does not cause any effect on the right/remedy available to the revisionist (Anand Prakash). If the revisionist has any grievance, the same can be redressed in the manner provided in the law."
The order also decided on whether Prakash, being the "signatory" on complaints, is required to be heard when the complainants (Ashu and SC Girhotra) had pleaded no objection to accept the closure reports.
The CBI special judge clarified that as per law, a notice to the "informer" in the case was mandatory, but in this case, Prakash was "merely an alleged signatory to the application, so he cannot be termed as an informer, victim or the complainant".
The judge said that though not entitled to a notice from the magistrate, the signatory "has locus to appear before the magistrate at the time of consideration of the report" and if he wanted to make submissions in regard to the report, the magistrate is bound to hear him. The judge further clarified that the magistrate might in the exercise of his discretion, if he thinks fit, give notice to the signatory or to any particular relative of the complainant. "But not giving such a notice will not have any invalidating effect [sic] on the order," the judge said.
Rathore's counsel Ajay Kaushik submitted, "There is no evidence against my client. The complainants (Ashu and SC Girhotra) raised no objection to the closure report of the CBI, which is an independent investigation agency. Anand Prakash has no locus standi to file these revision petitions."
Though not mentioned in the judgment, Anand Prakash claimed before mediapersons that he could file an application to register his submissions before the CBI magistrate.
SC Girhotra, in his complaint, had alleged that his signatures were taken on blank papers during the post-mortem formalities of his daughter Ruchika. He had claimed that his daughter's name was changed to Ruby and his name to Subhash Chand. The CBI case closure report says that SC Girhotra, during the inquest proceedings, had mentioned his name as Subhash Chand and his daughter's as Ruby.
In his complaint, Ashu Girhotra had alleged that false cases of vehicle thefts were slapped on him at the behest of then DGP SPS Rathore and he was tortured by the Haryana Police. The CBI closure report says that there was no evidence to substantiate the allegations. The report adds that shopkeepers of Panchkula's Sector 6 market had stated that they neither heard nor saw Ashu being paraded by the police in a half-naked condition with handcuffs in December 1993, as alleged by Ashu.
On December 29, 2009, an FIR had been registered against Rathore and other cops for Ashu's alleged torture and another for alleged forgery of SC Girhotra's signatures.