8-year-old murdered in Gurgaon: ‘Sexual predator’ conductor was fired by another school
A 42-year-old bus conductor accused of murdering an eight-year-old student of the Ryan International School was sacked by another school eight months ago for his “sexually predatory behaviour”, police investigations revealed on Saturday.
Ashok Kumar was a driver with a private school in Ghamroj, his native village near Gurgaon, but was fired from the job after some students complained about his “misdemeanors”. The school, about 5-km from Ryan International, did not file a complaint with the police.
Kumar was arrested after publicly confessing to slitting the throat and killing a Class II student who he tried to sexually abuse inside the toilet at Ryan International in Bhondsi, near Gurgaon, on Friday.
Three junior school students are now prime witnesses. Investigations revealed the three were in the toilet when Kumar walked in. The three students, who had gone to the toilet to change clothes for their Taekwondo class, crossed the victim in the corridor on their way out.
Police said Kumar waited for them and a gardener, an initial suspect, to leave. The victim walked into the toilet after this.
On Saturday, the school suspended acting principal Neerja Batra and set up a three-member panel to look into security lapses that led to the young student’s murder, which sparked angry protests by parents. The panel will submit its report on Monday. The school also canceled the contract of its security agency.
DCP (Crime) Sumit Kuhar said a background check revealed Kumar’s “sexually predatory” nature.
“The CCTV footage clearly shows his presence inside the toilet and eyewitness accounts match the sequence of events. We have strong circumstantial evidence to prove his guilt in the court”, said Kuhar.
The police have added charges under the Pocso Act, which deals with sexual assault on children, in the FIR against Kumar.
Meanwhile, amidst protests and allegations of inaction against the school management, the Gurgaon police vowed to file the charge sheet within a week. Gurgaon police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar said police will seek to fast track the trial.
“This is a very grave crime and the police is collecting the circumstantial evidence very minutely to make a foolproof case in the court. The help of a public prosecutor is being sought from investigation stage itself to ensure that there is no loophole,” said Khirwar.
The police are also likely to recommend cancellation of the license of the security agency if lacunae are found on its part. Investigations also revealed that the school management had not run background checks on accused Kumar. Sources said the same was true of a large number of other staff members.
Ami Chand, the father of accused Kumar, told HT that around 4pm on Friday the school sent for his son’s identity documents.
“We were only aware that Ashok and others had been detained for questioning. We had also sent his lunch to school in the afternoon. He is innocent and is being framed,” he alleged.
The Gurgaon administration has also formed a three-member committee to probe possible negligence and lapses on the part of the school management.
“The report will be submitted on Monday and action would be initiated based on that report. The lack of verification of the school staff, violations by security agency and related aspects will be probed in detail”, said Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh.
The CBSE has also formed a two-member fact-finding committee to probe the killing at the Ryan International and sought a report from its management within two days.
Earlier in the morning, a large number of angry parents from Ryan International’s three branches in Gurgaon protested at the police headquarter.
The victim’s father and relatives also met police officials after which they agreed to accept the murdered boy’s body which was later cremated in Bhondsi.