Saturday, December 2, 2023

Gurugram school murder: Arrested accused in CBI remand

Gurugram, Sep 23 (IANS)�A district court on Saturday granted the CBI custody of the three accused arrested by Haryana Police in connection with the killing of seven-year-old student Pradhuman Thakur of Ryan International School here earlier this month.

As the 12-member Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team approached a local court for the custody of the arrested accused, the court allowed one-day custody of bus conductor Ashok Kumar, 42, employed with Ryan school, who the police initially claimed had committed the heinous crime.

Two Ryan officials — North India head Francis Thomas and HR head Jeyus Thomas — also arrested in connection with the September 8 murder of the Class II student, will remain in CBI custody till September 25.

Ashok Kumar was booked for murder and under the POCSO Act, and the Ryan officials were arrested under Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

“On our request in the case related to alleged murder of a Ryan school student in Gurugram, the competent court today (Saturday) granted remand of three arrested persons to our custody, who were earlier arrested by Haryana Police,” a CBI spokesperson said in a statement.

The CBI took over the case on Friday and registered an FIR following the order received from the central government, on the request of Haryana government.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had recommended a CBI inquiry into the killing of Pradhuman on September 15.

Earlier in the day, a CBI team reached Ryan International School for gathering evidence. The student was on September 8 found dead with his throat slit inside the school’s washroom, within an hour after his father dropped him at the school.

The team also interrogated some teachers, gardener Harpal and another bus driver Sourav Raghav.

Police alleged that the school bus conductor killed the student with a knife as he resisted a sodomy attempt. However, after the arrest of the conductor, his parents and two other Ryan school staffers claimed he was being made a scapegoat.

The Haryana Police is also seeking to question school CEO Ryan Pinto and Director Augustine F. Pinto.

The case snowballed into a major national issue involving the safety and security of children in schools, with vociferous protests held by parents and activists outside Ryan International Schools in several states.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday refused to stay the arrest of trustees of Ryan International School — the Pinto family, including Augustine, his wife Grace and their son Ryan. The matter will now be heard on September 25.

The Pinto family’s anticipatory bail plea was earlier rejected by the Bombay High Court, citing jurisdiction issues.

The Gurugram district administration has taken over the Ryan School management for three months. Authorities ordered closure of the school till September 25, after it reopened on Monday.

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