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Ryan school murder: CBI probe throws spotlight on Gurgaon police botch-up

In the Ryan International School murder case, police denied all allegations of a lapse in the probe and said any missing link in the case was probably because the investigation was abruptly transferred to the CBI.

gurgaon Updated: Nov 09, 2017 13:50 IST
Abhishek Behl
Abhishek Behl
Gurgaon, Hindustan Times
Ryan murder,‪Death of Pradyuman Thakur‬,Pradyuman case latest news
The CBI produces a Class 11 student (face covered) of Ryan International School in a juvenile court, in Gurgaon on Wednesday. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

Undue haste in closing the probe into the murder of an eight-year-old student in Gurgaon’s Ryan International School and the media spotlight may have made the police commit several mistakes and overlook key clues, the victim’s family and legal experts alleged on Wednesday.

The charges came hours after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) detained a Class 11 student of the same school and said the older boy allegedly committed the murder to get examinations and a parent-teacher meeting postponed.

Barun Chandra Thakur, the father of the victim Pradyuman Thakur, asked Hindustan Times how the police special investigation team (SIT) failed to identify and investigate a student, who was not only visible in surveillance footage but was also the first to report the crime.

“We were never satisfied with the theory of the Gurgaon police,” he said.

“Why did the Haryana police ignore the CCTV footage? This was either deliberate or it was done to divert attention from the school management,” he alleged.

Thakur’s lawyer Sushil Tekriwal said the arrest of a 42-year-old school bus conductor hours after the crime indicated bungling of the probe. “We have been insisting from Day 1 that the police botched up the case.”

The police, however, denied all allegations of a lapse in the probe and said any missing link in the case was probably because the investigation was abruptly transferred to the CBI. “The case was transferred otherwise our investigation could have gone in that direction as well,” said Haryana director general of police, BS Sandhu.

Ashok Bakshi, deputy commissioner of police (South Gurgaon) who headed the SIT, said they had received no official communication from the CBI. “The investigation was conducted by us and handed over to the agency and they are now working on it,” he said.

Pradyumn, a student of Class 2, was found dead in the school toilet with his throat slit by a sharp-edged weapon on the morning of September 8. The same day, Gurgaon police arrested bus conductor Ashok Kumar but failed to satisfy the victim’s family or establish a motive, leading to the probe being given to the CBI.

The agency claimed its investigators were still probing charges of destruction of evidence against the school management. But activists based in Gurgaon said the scale of the alleged botch-up raised questions.

“Mistakes do happen but such a major faux pas by the police needs some answering. If Ashok Kumar has been deliberately framed, then it is a heinous crime,” said SK Sharma, an activist whose son also studies at Ryan International School.

Some officials of Gurgaon police admitted that the police could have made a mistake due to public pressure. “The police have lesser resources, less time and a lot of pressure to deliver results which can lead to such situation,” said a Gurgaon police official dealing with the case.

Legal experts indicated that the police’s eagerness to close the case coupled with public and media glare forced the SIT to make hasty conclusions.

“What was the need to commit that the chargesheet will be filed within a week? From day one, the police fixed responsibility on a single person who was also the most vulnerable,” said Gurgaon-based lawyer Rajiv Kaushik.

Another weak link of the investigation was the motive for the murder, added the experts.

“It is important to establish the motive in a heinous crime like this and this was always in doubt. None had the answer why Ashok will kill a boy in a public toilet, inside the school when he had no such history,” said a public prosecutor, who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Family members of Ashok Kumar questioned why the police had made the conductor confess in front of a camera. “They beat him so badly that there was no way out for him but accepting the crime,” alleged Ami Chand, Kumar’s father.

First Published: Nov 09, 2017 07:15 IST