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 A local court here Friday asked former Haryana police chief S.P.S. Rathore to respond to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) appeal and the complainant’s revision petition for enhanced sentence for him in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Raj Shekhar Attri issued a notice to Rathore, who was convicted of molesting Ruchika in the neighbouring Panchkula town Aug 12, 1990. The court will now hear the matter from Feb 8.

In their appeals, both the CBI and the complainant’s lawyer strongly opposed the excuse of old age given by Rathore’s counsel, and have demanded a sentence of up to two years.

Conviction under Section 354 (molestation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provides for a maximum punishment of two years.

In the enhancement appeal, the CBI said that Rathore did not act on the spur of the moment and his action was pre-planned. It was mentioned in the appeal that Rathore later unleashed a reign of terror on witnesses.

“The sentence awarded to Rathore is grossly inadequate and requires that the same be enhanced to the punishment extent provided under Section 354 of the IPC. It should act as a deterrent for potential wrong-doers,” stated CBI’s appeal.

The CBI special court had held Rathore guilty Dec 21 for molesting 15-year-old Ruchika, a budding tennis player who later committed suicide. He was sentenced to six months’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.1,000.

However, Rathore was granted bail immediately after his conviction.

Last month, Rathore filed an appeal against his conviction in the district court. After hearing Rathore’s appeal, the court extended his post-conviction bail till Feb 8.

He was asked not to leave the country and deposit his passport within seven days.

Now the case will be heard by the court continuously for three days – Feb 8, 9 and 10.

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