Former Haryana Director General of Police SPS Rathore who was convicted in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case was seen sharing the stage at the Republic Day parade in Panchkula.

Special Correspondent

Rathore was seen with several senior police and civil administration officers while saluting at the parade held at Sector-5 parade ground.

The move comes after a series of gangrapes that have rocked the state recently.

The state government officials were tight lipped about the presence of Rathore on stage.

Aradhana Gupta, friend of Ruchika Girhotra, who has also fought her case with the help of her advocate mother for 26 years, has demanded action against the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner who invited Rathore to the parade.

"We fought the case for 26 years. The accused cop was put behind bars and now the Haryana government is honouring him to share the stage on Republic Day," she said.

"The administration needs to give an explanation. Who invited him? No girl can feel secure with such behaviour of the administration," Gupta, who had testified against Rathore, told media.

Gupta told media that she had accompanied Ruchika on the day she was called by SPS Rathore at his office on the pretext of signing a document.

In 1990, the then Haryana Inspector General of Police SPS Rathore, who was also the president of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association, allegedly molested 14-year-old budding tennis player Ruchika Girhotra in his office room at Panchkula.

"The clever cop asked me to meet the coach who was elsewhere and asked Ruchika to stay with him. I returned after meeting the coach and when entered his office, Rathore was holding Ruchika tightly. He got scared when I entered and Ruchika emancipated herself and ran away," Aradhana said.

"She narrated the incident to me and then we decided to tell our parents. My mother Madhu Anand was a practising lawyer and father was a government servant," she added. However, unable to cope with the harassment inflicted on her and her family after pressing charges against Rathore, Ruchika committed suicide in 1993.

"Ruchika committed suicide on December 28, 1993, three years after she was molested. Her brother was tortured by registering false cases against him. He (Rathore) also tried to intimidate me and my family. My father Anand Prakash, an engineer with Haryana Government was not only transferred frequently but was also harassed by issuing as much as nine false charge sheets.

We used to change our vehicles as we feared for our life from Rathore whose cops followed us day and night," said Aradhna.

In 2009, a CBI special court convicted Rathore in the Ruchika molestation case, sentencing him to six months imprisonment and imposing a fine of Rs 1,000. The conviction was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2016.

Aradhna lost her father earlier this month who was also victimised by SPS Rathore after his wife Madhu Anand contested Ruchika's case.