Children at Habitat Learning Center Exhibition

Children at Habitat Learning Center Exhibition

Andher Nagari: Delhi- Hospitals Badly Affected By Water Shortage

40 Surgeries Put Off as Water Crisis Deepens

No Washing, Cleaning At Many Hospitals

Durgesh Nandan Jha TNN

New Delhi: The severe water shortage in the city has begun to take a toll on urgent health services. At Bara Hindu Rao, the largest municipal hospital in the city, more than 40 surgeries were cancelled over the past week because water could not be arranged for the procedures.

Doctors at the hospital said there was no water to sterilize instruments, wash the operation theatre, clean the linen, even wash hands — without which surgeries
could not be conducted.

      At other hospitals such as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Ambedkar and Safdarjung, patients said they were having to buy water from outside for most of their needs as hospital taps ran dry. Washing and cleaning, a vital function in hospitals to prevent infections, has mostly been abandoned at many institutions.
Toilets were stinking at a number of hospitals and doctors on night duty said they were having to carry their drinking water because there was no water in the wards.

     At Bara Hindu Rao, the worst days were Monday and Tuesday. “We had to reschedule some routine surgeries but emergency services were not affected. We called in water tankers to manage the problem. The supply has been restored now,” said Dr Ravi Gupta, additional medical superintendent of Bara Hindu Rao Hospital.

      A senior gynaecologist at the hospital said 10 surgeries in the department were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday. “The patients were asked to come later,” she said.

Malls shut loos, turn down ACs

Mall outings to escape the summer heat are no longer such a good idea. Faced with severe water scarcity, malls such as Select CityWalk, DLF Place, DLF Promenade and Ambience Gurgaon, which see heavy footfalls over the weekend, have turned down or switched off air-conditioning and closed washrooms. “We had to close a section of the washrooms, but we managed to tide over the crisis. ACs were running on and off,” said a Select CityWalk official. City feels the heat as taps run dry, lights dim Patients Buy Water From Outside At Government Hospitals

      New Delhi: Water scarcity in the city has severely affected the services at government hospitals.

    At Bara Hindu Rao, the largest municipal hospital, more than 40 surgeries were cancelled over the past week because water could not be arranged for the procedures.

      At other hospitals such as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Ambedkar and Safdarjung, patients had to buy water from outside as hospital taps ran dry. Washing and cleaning, a vital function in hospitals to prevent infections, had mostly been abandoned at many institutions..

        A doctor at Bara Hindu Rao said, “As it is, the waiting period for operations in departments such as urology, surgery and orthopedics has gone up because the main OT has been partially closed since January for repairs. The water crisis will aggravate the problem.”

     Doctors said they are giving preference to emergency cases and to outstation patients. Sources said Bara Hindu Rao witnesses water crisis every year during the peak summer, but this time the shortage was more acute because of the Wazirabad water treatment plant not receiving its quota of raw water from Haryana.

      “The government and hospital authorities should make arrangements for uninterrupted supply,” a doctor said.

      Dr Promila Gupta, medical superintendent at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya hospital, said the hospital has been facing water problems for more than a month. “No emergency services have been affected. But yes there is a problem,” Gupta said.
A resident doctor at Safdarjung hospital said doctors were having to carry their drinking water during night duty. “There is no facility of clean drinking water in thewards and patients have to buy water from outside,” he said.

      At the 64-bedded B R Sur homeopathic medical college and hospital in south Delhi’s Moti Bagh, patients said water supply to the toilets was irregular. Hospital authorities said they are managing the daily needs through tankers.
TheDJB attributes the severe shortage to curtailment of raw water supply by Haryana to the Haiderpur and Wazirabad treatment plants.


       Ministry of External Affairs should be run better than Municipal corporations, at least that is what one would tend to believe considering the standard of intake of its officers, IFS no less. However, shameful as it is, MEA is known for its rude behavior and unhelpful attitude towards Indians abroad, and it is no surprise that our citizens are not considered worthy of civil treatment at home by the MEA babus.

Mind you, If you have ‘contacts’ you will have no problem. Or   you go through touts, in whose benefit the system  appears to have been designed

     TOI has done a great favor to the public by bringing out the problems faced by any individual attempting to get a Passport. The problem is not confined to Delhi, as experience  of other cities especially Kolkata and Chennai shows.

      The articles in TOI seem to have stirred the sleepers in MEA. How long the effect will last is to be seen.

     The Editorial piece in TOI succicintly sums up sum up the mind set that besets the babus. Unfortunately the name of the writer is not available at this time.

      The Editorial staff and the correspondent Manimaguda deserve to be congratulated.

     Ed: Yogurt

Red Tape Republic

Obstacle race for passports indicates what’s wrong with governance

      Passports are a basic citizenship document. Even a minimally decent standard of governance requires that citizens shouldn’t have to undergo a harrowing struggle before being granted such a document. But that is increasingly the case, as this newspaper has highlighted. Why that should be so reveals not only the state of society and government, but also illumines obliquely what’s been happening to the India story of late.

     Securing a passport has always been difficult, both due to lack of capacity and poor design of the system – where, for instance, there is lack of clarity about the documents needed in the process. But lately things have gotten worse, after moving to a new system which requires prior online appointments to apply for a passport.

       This is ironical, because the application of information technology ought to have made the going smooth. But it’s also a textbook example of how Indian officialdom works. Building in a lack of capacity and making the process as arduous as possible, whether deliberately or through benign neglect, allows many opportunities for rent extraction and out-of-turn favours. There are touts who can, for instance, magically arrange an online appointment that’s otherwise unavailable through the officially obligatory process of applying through a website. This suggests that someone may be slowing down online appointments, precisely because the transparency and uniformity they offer could reduce the scope for discretionary and out-of-turn favours.

      The same process can be observed in other domains as well. Aadhaar or unique identification could radically reduce wastage in government programmes by authenticating intended beneficiaries and eliminating the need for middlemen. But that has caused the Aadhaar project to run into a great deal of bureaucratic resistance and political heartburn. The higher education sector is ensnared in red tape, which explains why capacity cannot rise to meet demand. Result? College cut-offs soar, as young people find it more and more difficult to find a seat in college. Delays in project clearances have contributed to the economic slowdown and held up the India story.

     In a sign of change, however,the ministry of external affairs now promises to streamline the working of passport offices, while tackling touts and recalcitrant babus. The system requires a drastic overhaul, and it’s important that the ministry delivers on promises made. More friendly and transparent citizen-government interfaces are sorely needed.

     By ending the harassment of ordinary citizens and curbing opportunities for the corrupt, they would transform the compelling image of the government as a strangling mai-baap sarkar into one that truly empowers its citizens. And offer hope that red tape needn’t govern our lives forever.

Wait, bribe, and settle down for another wait

In January, I got my passport is sued in Delhi within five days. No hassles, no standing in line. Please do not ask me how. You know how. You just have to know someone. I knew someone, who knew someone. We have the most wonderful and helpful system in the world. -Sushil Verma, Kolkata

      My mother’s passport was held up for six months just for photographs. We were never informed that the photographs were missing. It only came to my knowledge when I confronted the Delhi regional passport officer and sat in his office demanding immediate issuance of my passport. I was lucky to receive my passport the next day through the office superintendent who came personally to handover the document.
-Sanjeet Teri, Delhi

      Iapplied for a passport on April 4, 2011, exactly a week after my mother and brother. Everybody, from the vigilance officer to the police official, took Rs 500 for their endorsements, but my passport hasn’t materialised. I have lived in the same house since March 2009, yet I was told to submit a PPF form, which is required only if the applicant has stayed at an address for less than a year. I have sought information under RTI thrice, but the passport office maintains it does not have my PPF forms. The police in their reply to my RTI query clearly state that the passport office can issue me a passport. I tried showing the entire string of RTIs to the passport officer in Ghaziabad but he refused to go through it, was rude and told me to never visit him again.
-Pankaj Adhikari, Ghaziabad

      Igot my passport after 18 months only when I lost my cool after having to stand in a queue seven times. Meanwhile, the passport of my wife Sudha Goel is still under process after six months. Reason: “Police verificatio completed on 26 March 2012. Your passport will be dispatched after ‘clear’ police report is received at regional passport office”. It could take forever for a ‘clear’ police verification report.
-RB Goel

      It present, appointments are given for only the next couple of work days. The authority should open slots for the next 10 to 20 days. Applicants will be happy to get an appointment after 20 days, rather than having to log in for appointment day after day without expecting anything. -Hardik, Bangalore
Icouldn’t get a passport for my daughter in India, even though she had a passport and had been to the US. They insisted on an affidavit from the Indian consulate in the US to grant the passport, and it takes forever to get the proofs that go along with the affidavits and passport. It’s an impractical passport application procedure. The police verification is nothing but a way to milk applicants.
-Ashok, US

      Ihave a few suggestions to make the passport system better. If there are more applicants than the sanctioned limit, increase the counters or open more PSKs. With TCS doing the front-office job, this should be possible without much hassle. More than this, the police verification process needs to be streamlined. Point of attention: the department’s internal communication still makes use of traditional methods (sending through post only). Unless all the agencies part of the passport mechanism are electronically connected, PSKs will be of no use.
-Srinivasan, Chennai

       For online applicants, the passport authority should accept and scrutinize soft copies of documents at the time of giving appointment. Anyone who has applied once should not need to register again. If the applicant is Indian by birth, having a school certificate, ration card and documents, these should be accepted. -Suresh, Chennai

      When I visited the ITO office for my son’s passport, I found that things could not be worse. In the last few years, I have visited the Delhi passport office on several occasions but the behaviour of the staff was never as rude as I witnessed today. They were almost abusive towards most applicants, particularly the poorer ones, many of whom were in tears. The TCS staff is as rude as the MEA staff. To top it all, they ask you to fill a feedback/ suggestions slip before handing over the receipt of your completed application.
-Gaurav, Delhi

BUSINESS STILL ON: The MEA on Wednesday said all PSKs will be instructed to file FIRs against anyone playing with the system. Nevertheless, it was business as usual for most ‘help’ kiosks near PSKs in the city

20 visits and 7 months wasted but no passport

Ihave held a passport for 16 years and travelled abroad more than 25 times. Last November, when my passport still had four years of validity remaining, I decided to get my address and marital status updated, to stay on the right side of the law. I had no idea what kind of ordeal I was letting myself in for. My passport, which had a valid US work visa, has been under process for eight months now.

     I made my first visit to the PSK in Gurgaon armed with all the status proofs mentioned on The woman at the fingerprint counter stopped my application process midway citing a security alarm as I am from J&K. After I showed her several proofs of my residence in Gurgaon, she discussed the case with her supervisor, and processed my application. But at the issuing counter, the officer raised a new alarm, claiming his system showed a prior pending application in my name. His senior also checked her database, found the rogue application and immediately cancelled my existing passport. I closed the first day of my struggle with instructions to visit the regional passport office in Delhi.
Second visit: I visited the Delhi RPO 10 days later but could not meet the PRO as my file had not arrived from PSK, Gurgaon.

      Third: I returned two weeks later, the PRO checked his system and assured me it was just an internal issue. I was told the job would be done in a week, and I need not submit any documents.

     Fourth: I went back after a week and was treated like a first-time visitor. The PRO said my passport was held up as it had been issued from Houston (at the Indian embassy there). He asked me to submit an application and leave it to him. But he refused to give me an acknowledgement.

     Fifth: I went back after two weeks and was asked to fill 3 PP forms and provide photos. Sixth: Three weeks later, I was asked to meet another officer in the PRO’s office and validate that there was no other application in my name. We spent four hours on this, and the officer concluded that my case was clear.Seventh: The PRO asked me to come after a week but I went after two. I was asked to submit PP forms again.

    Eighth: Two more weeks went by and I was given the excuse that since my first passport was from Trichy, some permissions were awaited.

     Ninth: After three more weeks, the PRO asked me to write a letter to the ministry of external affairs, saying only it could look into my “complicated” case.

     On and on: I made a dozen more visits to the passport office, wrote numerous emails to RPO Delhi as well as the MEA, but got no response. If I call PSK Gurgaon, they point me to RPO Delhi, which doesn’t reply to my emails.

     I escalated the case to chief passport officer Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi through the public grievances site but he also referred it to the RPO. My police verification is all clear. The online status of my request has remained unchanged for the last 7 months: “Police has completed verification process on 15/12/2011. Your passport will be dispatched after ‘Clear’ Police Verification Report is received at Regional Passport Office. You would receive an email/sms once the passport is dispatched.”

      How long do I have to wait? I might lose my job as I can’t travel abroad on assignment and my company won’t accept that.
-Ashu Mahajan,
Gurgaon | Passport file ref no. DL3070298129211

Andher Nagari: Delhi Passport office – Arrogance of Babudom

    The head Babu, viz the Chief Passport Officer blames the applicants for the the problems they face in getting passports in Delhi.

According to him too many persons are applying for passport ! It is their fault if they have problems!

The passport office need not equip itself to handle the number of citizens. There is no explanation as to why those seeking appointments should go online at 6 PM every day? Why cannot people get appointment any time during the day?

To top it the arrogance of the official to say that one can go to the Passport office to get an appointment, “they are not turned away’.

Travel 30 odd km with your parents and kids, to reach  at 8 am and stand in the que for an appointment till evening? Temperature hovering around 44 C ?

This is SEVA by passport officials in Delhi.

A frustrated Citizen

Foreign dreams hit a wall at passport office

Online Appointment Process, Document Demands Challenge Applicants

Manimugdha S Sharma TNN

        New Delhi: At 6 o’clock every evening, thousands of people in the city hunch up before their computers in a ritual reminiscent of the 1980s’ M a h a b h a r a t frenzy. It’s the first Act in their epic struggle to get a passport, urgently. If they fail to book an online appointment within a couple of minutes, they lose 24 hours and have to try again a day later.

        In an investigation prompted by thousands of reader complaints, TOI spent three weeks experiencing the hurdles and frustration that common citizens encounter trying to get a passport. We found people who had been harassed to the point where they gave up the thought of getting this most important proof of citizenship. Many others got the document, but days after the occasion for which they had sought it. In one case, a man couldn’t get his passport re-issued even after five months, and had to miss a prestigious conference in the US. An 80-year-old woman couldn’t be at her sister’s side in the US when the latter was undergoing cancer treatment.

       Booking an online appointment is the first step towards getting a passport, and also the most difficult. Kamla Nagar resident Divya spent 23 days clicking for her chance. Starting May 7, she kept trying till luck smiled on her on May 30. But her joy was short-lived, as the Shalimar Place passport sewa kendra (PSK) rejected her application. Reason: the voter ID card she submitted as proof of address was issued in 2012, and does not confirm the requirement of ‘twoyear continuous stay’ at her address. “Now, I have to apply for the appointment again. And I don’t know when I will get one,” she said.

       While agreeing that booking an online appointment is difficult, chief passport officer and joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs, Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi, argued that the “truth is not what is being projected”. He blamed the rush of applications instead. “The issue is not with the (time) window, but with the number of applicants. The PSK at ITO can handle up to 900 applications per day; others at Shalimar Place, RK Puram and Gurgaon can process 300-400 applications each. But for roughly 2,000 appointment slots, thousands apply. The slots get filled up within minutes. We have flashed on our portal that those who can’t book online can walk in with their application receipt numbers. And we have been accommodating such people,” he said.

      Jaipur-based student Rahul had a tough time at the ITO PSK while trying to get a passport under the Tatkal scheme. “I tried to get an appointment for a month and a half. Then, I paid a travel agent to do it for me. I contacted him on a Saturday and he got me an appointment on Monday,” said Rahul, adding that he wasn’t sure when he would get his passport, as many others got theirs after two weeks or more under the same scheme, against the promised time of seven days.

     Pardeshi said delays mostly happen simply because the postal department fails to deliver on time, or, because the applications submitted are not complete, or the verification documents don’t have the appropriate credentials of the attesting officer.

     Many readers complained about having to wait for more than two weeks to get a passport under the Tatkal scheme (where service has to be provided within seven working days on payment of Rs 2,500) and for over three months under the normal process (which promises a passport within 45 days).

       More annoying is the lack of clarity about the documents needed. The official website, w w w. p a s s p o r t i n – d i a . g o v. i n , lists the particulars for all categories but the PSKs claim they have their own “rules” and usually ask for documents not mentioned on the website.

        For instance, the ITO PSK asked Sabzi Mandi resident Ajay Gaur to produce an affidavit for his wife, as she was born in Jammu. The website doesn’t mention the requirement of affidavits in cases where applicants can submit residence proof for two years. Even the Election Commission asks for address proof of six months’ stay at a particular address for issuing a voter ID card.

       Pardeshi blamed the current holiday season rush for the increase in delays, claiming applications had increased by 20-25%. “With the opening of the new PSK at Bhikaji Cama Place on June 15, the burden on the other PSKs will lessen.”

          However, columnist Ashok Malik was not convinced by this logic. He had a harrowing time at the ITO PSK when seeking renewal of his five-year-old son’s passport. The child almost fainted after waiting for several hours without enough air and water. “Four PSKs are not the solution. This model can work in smaller cities where fewer people apply. In Delhi, you need at least 10-15 PSKs,” he said.
W i t h i n p u t s f r o m S u m e e t K e s w a n i )

FRUSTRATING WAIT: Applicants outside the PSK at Herald House, ITO


11.42 cr and counting… Is what B’lore paid in bribes

Country Pays Most Bribes For Land Documents;

Rich Haul After Lokayukta Raid

Aparajita Ray | TNN

     Bangalore: Citizens across 483 cities paid a whopping Rs 44.77 crore in bribes, to get their land documents, electricity connections, a seat in a preferred college or register their dream home. And all this in just 21 months.

    Ipaidabribe, the only forum for citizens to air their grievances when they grease palms, clocked 1 million hits as on May 31, 2012. Needless to say, it is the registration department which is the most corrupt, going by the 19,863 reports filed by citizens from across 483 Indian cities. Be it getting a vehicle registered or jumping a signal, getting a marriage certificate or registering a property, nothing seems to work without under-the-table payment.

       Citizens had the highest number of complaints against the registration department, where officials make a killing through bribes. In Bangalore, the department made Rs 6.29 crore, followed by the BBMP (Rs 1.69 crore) where people complained of having to grease palms to get their khatas or land documents. Although the corporation is cash-strapped, officials of BBMP and departments do cream off crores through bribes.

      These figures, while being representative of the malaise affecting society, is just the tip of the iceberg. A vast majority of bribe payers would not have registered their grievances online.

     In the data analyzed by the Jana Online team – an initiative of Janaagraha which handles the site – a shocking Rs 11.42 crore in bribes is lapped up by officials in 24 government departments in Bangalore. Interestingly, people claim to have even bribed gods, but the “offerings” are a mere Rs 4,200!

     The education department also made a cool Rs 42.73 lakh in giving seats and certificates. The passport office is yet another place where many people are harassed to get police verification done or over the renewal of visas. As many as 43 stories have been reported on the web page with grievances of having had to pay bribes, with the department mopping up Rs 61,500.

     Not very surprising, but the police department ranks only fourth as the highest bribe taking department in Bangalore, making Rs 26.65 lakh, but has recorded 1,422 complaints, the highest number reports on IPaB.

NO RELIEF IN SIGHT: Whether it’s to get khatas or land documents, officials in the registration department make a killing through bribes, say citizens

     Bangalore: On a tip-off by three men caught with Rs 1.31 crore cash, police alerted the Lokayukta about district registrar K Borappa’s wealth.

    On Tuesday, Lokayukta police swooped down on Borappa’s residence in Vijayanagar II Stage. The raid yielded a rich haul of documents pertaining to 20 properties, Rs 12.98 lakh in cash and 270 grams of gold. Searches are still on for his silver articles.

    Two of the 20 properties are in prime Bangalore localities: a site in Banashankari VI Phase and a two-storey building in Vijayanagar II Stage. The rest are four residential sites, two farmhouses, three poultry farms and nine agricultural plots — all in Davanagere district.
“The value we have taken of the properties is based on the sale agreements made at the time of registering them. The immovable properties might be valued ten times the original value at the present land price,” said a Lokayukta police officer.

     “We suspect that Borappa is the owner of more properties, and that he might have acquired property abroad, including in the US. We are questioning his close acquaintances and family members,” the officer, who was part of the raiding party, said.

     Other Lokayukta officials said that the list of seized properties is preliminary and based on documents seized from Borappa’s houses. “We are making an inventory of the properties.”

Tamil Nadu: Liquor Politics?

UB Group’s fortunes on a seesaw ride in Tamil Nadu

Liquor Sales See Rise, Dip With Change In Political Situation


Chennai: The fortunes of Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits Ltd (USL) has been fluctuating with the political situation in the state.
USL, which held 20% share of the state’s liquor trade until the AIADMK came to power in May 2011, found its share drop to 12.38% by December even as Midas Golden Distilleries, owned by close associates of Sasikalaa, saw rising sales. When the relationship between chief minister Jayalalithaa and her friend Sasikalaa turned sour, Midas Distilleries managing director Mohan was arrested on charges of cheating and sales to the state procurer of liquor tanked.

An indent issued by the state-run Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) shows USL’s sales in December last hovered around nine lakh cases of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL), which was about 19% of total sales in the state. Tasmac has exclusive rights to sell liquor in the state and is the department responsible for purchase of stocks.
Midas, which enjoyed 7.2% market share during the DMK regime, more than doubled its market share to 16.62% after the AIADMK came to power, at the cost of USL. Between December 2011 and March this year, USL was a gainer.

However, in April, when the tide changed with Sasikalaa patching up with chief minister Jayalalithaa, Midas bagged orders for about six lakh cases. On the other hand, USL, which procured orders for about 9.90 lakh cases (about 20% of total sales) in March 2012, suffered subsequently with sales dipping to just 7.51 lakh cases (17.8%) in April 2012.

Ten distilleries and four breweries supply all of Tamil Nadu’s liquor requirements – about five crore cases annually. The state is among the top five liquor markets in the country, but entry licenses are hard to come by.

The AIADMK government has changed the managing director of Tasmac twice in the last five months. Sandeep Saxena was replaced by D Vivekanandan in May soon after the AIADMK came to power. He was replaced by Apoorva Verma in July, who soon made way for T Soundiah.

Andher Nagari: Coalgate – PM Not Involved?

Coalgate: PM took no action on repeated missives by BJP MP


New Delhi: BJP Lok Sabha member Hansraj Ahir, whose complaint has led the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) order the CBI to hold a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the allocation of coal blocks between 2006 and 2009, had been writing regularly to the PM since 2009 on the issue, but only got acknowledgements for reply.
According to Ahir, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself regularly acknowledged his letters, the government took no action on the irregularities’ regarding allocation of coal blocks to various private entities.
Starting December 24, 2008, Ahir wrote to the PM about 10 letters, highlighting allocation of coal blocks to private entities without an open competitive bidding process. He had contended that since 2006 the ministry of coal had distributed “scores of coal blocks to some private owners along with few government companies”. He argued that a total of 49 billion tonnes of reserves exist in these blocks, of which 21.61 billion tonnes had gone to private firms. He said the allocations on a first-come-firstserve basis were taking place after the government had in June, 2004, decided to introduce competitive bidding regime.
Last Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had issued a detailed clarification, justifying the entire allocation procedure. “It may be stated that the allocation of coal blocks was never looked upon as a potential source for generating revenue for the Central Government. The intent of the government was to induce rapid development of infrastructure which was so very essential to keep the economy on a high growth trajectory. Hence the question of maximizing revenue does not arise at all. The idea of introduction of bidding cropped up only in the wake of increasing demand for captive coal blocks and the consequent necessity of putting in place a process, which is demonstrably more transparent,” the PMO said.
Though there is no evidence yet of a criminal conspiracy in allocation of coal blocks, there is an eerie parallel between 2G scam and this case, especially the studied silence of the government to persistent complaints by an Opposition leader.
In the case of 2G scam, Dr Subramanian Swamy and others wrote regularly to the PM and others, but there was no response. Later, the Supreme Court blamed the PMO for sitting on the repeated requests to Dr Singh for prosecution of former telecom minister A Raja.
The SC had said, “Unfortunately, those who were expected to give proper advice to Prime Minister and place full facts and legal position before him failed to do so…We have no doubt that if the Prime Minister had been apprised of the true factual and legal position regarding the representation made by the appellant, he would have surely taken appropriate decision.”
Ahir had not sought permission to prosecute anyone, but had been making demands for cancelling the coal block allocations.

Hansraj Ahir

Andher Nagari: Where is Justice?

Sense of insecurity forced victim’s family to give up

Hina Rohtaki TNN

Panchkula: The security cover provided to Ruchika Girhotra’s family as it faced intimidation during its campaign for justice was removed three months before a local court accepted closure report on two cases against the former cop S P S Rathore.
The family did not object to the closure of cases against Rathore amid this sense of insecurity and decided to end the 22-year struggle for justice.
A PCR van stationed outside the Girhotras’ residence in Panchkula’s sector-12A area has nobody to operate it. The van was deployed for the family’s security along with the cover three years back. Sources said security to Girhotras was withdrawn without any notice.
Panchkula DCP Parul Kush said she was unaware of the removal of the security. “I will have to check records as I have taken over recently,” she said.

CHANDIGARH: The family of Ruchika Girhotra, a minor girl who allegedly committed suicide after molestation by former Haryana director general of police (DGP) SPS Rathore, has given up its fight for justice in the court of law after 22 years.

The special CBI court Panchkula on Friday accepted the closure report submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in two cases – attempt to murder and forgery of documents- filed against former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore.

Ruchika’s father Subhash and brother Ashu raised no objection to the closure report.

Admitting that he was not in a position to pursue the matter further, Subhash said, “I do not see any hope now. We feel cheated. My family is vulnerable. The circumstances have pushed us back by 20 years.”

“When Rathore was convicted in 2009, I met union home minister P C Chidambaram who assured me of justice. I thought time and system had changed and dared to move fresh complaints against Rathore.” On January 12, 2010 the CBI registered three fresh FIRs against Rathore – attempt to murder, abetment to suicide and doctoring of documents. However, in November 2010, the CBI submitted the closure report in two cases. The closure report was accepted by the court on Friday.

“But now after finding that the system cannot be changed, we decided not to pursue it further,” Girhotra said.

Ruchika’s disillusioned father said that he had presented a lot of material and some witnesses related to the fresh cases before the agency. “But the agency was adamant on closing the case.”

Subhash forced his son and family into exile after Ruchika’s death, fearing further harassment at the hands of the former DGP. During this period, the family shifted between several cities and returned to Panchkula many years later only to lead an inconspicuous life.

The third case against Rathore- abetment to suicide – is still pending. The CBI could not file any report as the Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered status quo on it. Besides Rathore, former Ambala SP KP Singh, sub-inspector Prem Dutt and assistant sub-inspectors Jai Narayan and Sewa Singh were also named in the FIR.

In its closure report, the CBI has said that the allegations levelled by Subhash Girhotra and his son Ashu against Rathore were unfounded. The CBI also claimed that the allegations could not be substantiated “as per the documentary evidence and oral testimony of witnesses.”

Ruchika Case—Timeline

August 12, 1990– SPS Rathore, then IG and President, Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA) molested Ruchika

September 1990–Ruchika expelled from school for ‘indiscipline’ following her allegations against Rathore

September 3, 1990– An Inquiry report indicts Rathore

October 23, 1993– Ruchika’s brother arrested in several theft cases

December 28, 1993– Ruchika consumed poisonous substance

December 29, 1993– Ruchika died

August 21, 1998– High Court directs CBI to conduct inquiry

December 21, 2009– CBI court sentenced six months’ rigorous imprisonment to Rathore

January 12, 2010– CBI registered three fresh FIRs leveling charges of attempt to murder, abetment to suicide and doctoring documents

November 10, 2010– CBI filed closure

MISERY NEVER ENDS: Ruchika’s father, Subash Girhotra, (right) said the family presented a lot of documents related to the cases against ex-DGP S P S Rathore but the CBI ‘seemed to be adamant on closure’