Having circumvented the system, including the legal apparatus for nearly two decades, disgraced former Haryana police chief SPS Rathore saw things changing for him within a couple of hours on Tuesday.
From a beaming Rathore waving to the waiting media outside his house to being pushed around as CBI officials took him away in a white Tavera van standing outside the district courts complex here -- things changed fast for Rathore.
Earlier, after Additional District and Session Judge Gurbir Singh upheld Rathore's conviction and enhanced his sentence in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case to 18 months and ordered that he be taken into custody, Rathore and his lawyer wife did not leave the court room for nearly 40 minutes.
Rathore's wife and senior lawyer Abha Rathore and other lawyers defending him immediately surrounded Rathore inside the court even as Ruchika's father, S.C. Girhotra, main complainants in the case Anand and Madhu Prakash and their lawyer Pankaj Bhardwaj rushed out of the court to announce the judgment to the media waiting outside the court complex.
Rathore's wife pleaded with the judge that he (Rathore) had undergone heart bypass surgery and should be allowed bail. However, the judge ordered that Rathore be arrested and taken to Burail prison here and the documents regarding his medical condition be given to the jail superintendent.
Rathore, who left Tuesday afternoon for the court from his bungalow in Panchkula's upscale Sector 6, fifteen km from here, was beaming and waved to media camerapersons waiting outside his house. Dressed in a white striped shirt and trousers with a tie and black sun-shades, he folded his hands as his Tata Indica car passed the waiting media.
After the verdict, Rathore and his wife sought a copy of the judgment from the court to enable them to apply to the Punjab and Haryana high court for bail but the judge told them that there is no provision in law that the copy had to be provided immediately to the convicted person.
The CBI special court had held Rathore guilty December last year for molesting Ruchika, a budding tennis player, on Aug 12, 1990.
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.