Was molestation victim Ruchika Girhotra expelled from Chandigarh’s elite Sacred Heart School 19 years ago? Or was her name stuck off the rolls owing to non-payment of fees?
On Friday, Father Thomas, Spokesman for Chandigarh Shimla Diocese, which runs the school, said Ruchika was never expelled from Sacred Heart.
“Her name was struck off the attendance register because of non-payment of school fee for six months continuously —from April to September 1990.”
Last week, a Central Bureau of Investigation court sentenced former Haryana police chief S.P.S. Rathore (67) to six months in jail for molesting 14-year-old schoolgirl Ruchika in 1990.
Three years later, the teenager committed suicide after the police allegedly started harassing her family members at Rathore’s behest.
Ruchika’s father S.C. Girhotra, in a statement handed over to Chandigarh officials on Friday, said she was indeed expelled from the school.
A top Chandigarh Administration official told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity: “When quizzed, her father said the same principal had expelled Ruchika in 1990. He also said that when he went to the principal to pay the delayed fee, she refused to accept it. Ruchika was removed from the school under some pressure.”
The Chandigarh administration is trying to unearth the facts. Education department officials visited the school to probe records pertaining to 1990 when she was expelled. Thomas said the school was cooperating with the investigative authorities.
“We are ready to furnish all the documents sought by them, subject to availability as most of these are 19 years old,” he said.
Thomas said Sister Sebastina, the Principal of Sacred Heart School, would join the investigations on Saturday, when she reaches Chandigarh.