The family and supporters of teenaged budding tennis player Ruchika Girhotra, who was molested by former Haryana police chief SPS Rathore August 1990 and subsequently committed suicide in 1993, on Tuesday said they were "happy" that her tormentor was finally punished.
"We are very happy. Justice has been done. But our fight to get him even more punishment for abetment of suicide (of Ruchika) will continue. We are all very happy. We cannot bring Ruchika back now but today her soul will rest in peace," Ruchika's father, S.C. Girhotra told IANS after the verdict.
"This shows that no one is above the law. Even a powerful person like him can be punished," Girhotra added.
Additional district and sessions judge Gurbir Singh on Tuesday afternoon enhanced Rathore's sentence in the molestation case, while rejecting his appeal against his conviction in the case by a CBI special court in Chandigarh December last year, to 18 months (one and a half years) and ordered that he be taken into custody immediately and be taken to the Burail prison here.
"We are satisfied with the verdict. This has shown that no one is above the law in this country," lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj, who represented Anand and Madhu Prakash, the main complainants on Ruchika's behalf, said.
A visibly happy Anand Prakash, whose daughter Aradhna was the only witness in the molestation incident in Panchkula town in Haryana, 15 km from here, said: "We have won the battle but we are prepared for the war (against Rathore). We want him to pay for his sins."
Aradhna, who is now settled in Sydney (Australia) told TV channels: "I am very happy with the verdict and for Ruchika. We fought this long battle against Rathore to get her justice. I am very happy at the victory today."
The CBI special court had held Rathore guilty December last year for molesting Ruchika, a budding tennis player, in Panchkula town nearly two decades ago.
Ruchika committed suicide three years later in Panchkula town, adjoining Chandigarh, following her and her family's continuous harassment by Rathore, a powerful police officer in Haryana.