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Ryan murder: Juvenile arrested by CBI was prime witness of Gurgaon police

Court documents accessed by Hindustan Times show that Gurgaon Police got recorded the juvenile’s statement before a magistrate under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code

delhi Updated: Dec 03, 2017 22:58 IST
Leena Dhankhar/Rajesh Ahuja
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Court documents accessed by Hindustan Times show that Gurgaon Police got recorded the juvenile’s statement before a magistrate under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

The juvenile arrested by the CBI on charges of murdering Pradhyumn Thakur, the eight-year-old student of Ryan International School, was a prime witness of Gurgaon police that probed the case before it was handed over the central agency.

Court documents accessed by Hindustan Times show that Gurgaon Police got recorded the juvenile’s statement before a magistrate under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code— four days after Haryana chief minister ML Khattar said the case was being handed over the CBI as the victim’s family didn’t have trust in the police probe.

Courts accord greater credibility to statements recorded under section 164 but a statement to police holds no evidentiary value.

Pradhyumn’s father Barun Chandra Thakur termed as ‘shocking’ the recording of statements after the CM’s announcement. “This clearly indicates they (Gurgaon police officers) were botching up the investigation,” he said.

The police initially arrested bus conductor Ashok Kumar on charges of sexually assaulting and murdering the student. But the CBI ruled out sexual assault.

The CBI said the juvenile killed Pradhyumn as he wanted the school examination and a parent-teacher meeting to be postponed. The CBI so far has not found any evidence against Kumar, who is out on bail.

According to sources, the role of Gurgaon police officials is under the CBI’s scanner and all aspects, including if there was a deliberate attempt to frame Kumar, are being probed.

Besides the juvenile, the police also got recorded school gardener Harpal’s statement before a magistrate, according them the status of material witnesses. Khattar had announced the transfer of the case on September 15 after meeting Pradhyumn’s family.

Court documents show the statements of Harpal and the juvenile were recorded before the magistrate on September 18 and 19, respectively.

But, technically, the probe remained with police for another week as paperwork was completed on September 22 when the CBI formally took over.

Experts say there is no legal bar on local police to stop the probe once an announcement is made to hand over the case to a federal agency.

“The police was within its rights to continue the probe but here the question is why it took a week for the case to reach CBI. The correspondence between the Centre and the Haryana government could have been completed in a day once the CM had agreed to a CBI probe. This gap is giving rise to all sorts of questions,” said NR Wasan, retired IPS officer and chief of Bureau of Police Research and Development, who worked with the CBI and NIA.

The CBI refused to comment, saying investigation was on.

Ashok Bakshi, deputy commissioner (south), Gurgaon police, refused to comment, saying the probe was with the CBI. Bakshi headed the special investigation team constituted to probe the murder.

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 22:58 IST