In a stunning twist in the murder of a seven-year-old in Gurugram's Ryan International School in September, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday detained a Class XI student in connection with the crime. The stark discrepancy in the investigative lines of the CBI and the Gurugram Police raises critical questions about how the latter operates.
The student will now be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board later on Wednesday, where the court is expected to decide whether he is to be treated as a major or a minor as per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
A statement released by the agency, as quoted by ANI said: "CBI has apprehended a child in conflict with the law, a student of a senior class at Ryan International School (Sohna Road, Gurugram) in an ongoing case relating to the murder of a seven-year-old boy. Initial investigation revealed the child in a conflict of the law...wanted to have the examination and parent-teacher meeting in school postponed."
According to sources in the CBI quoted by IANS, the senior student was seen with a knife inside the school campus on the day seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur was killed with his throat slit in the school's bathroom.
According to Zee News, the CBI further said that the 16-year-old student used the knife as the murder weapon and later flushed it in the washroom.
"We have come to the conclusion on the basis of CCTV, forensic evidence and scientific evidence. The student has been apprehended. He remains our prime suspect," a CBI spokesperson told PTI.
According to India Today, while there is no official comment from the CBI, the father of the Class XI student said that the investigators were alleging that his son wanted to postpone school exams and murdered Pradyuman in order to get Ryan International School to declare a holiday.
"They (CBI) arrested my son last night. My son has been forced to confess to murder. He has not committed the crime, he was the one who informed the gardener and teachers," he told ANI.
The Class XI student's detainment has sparked theories about the botched investigation conducted by the Gurugram Police. Reports now suggest that the CBI may probe a possible Ryan International School-Gurugram Police nexus in the murder case. CNN-News18 quoted CBI sources as saying that the police may have also tried to destroy the evidence.
Given that the CBI came to its conclusion based on the same CCTV available to the police is also intriguing. "We have come to the conclusion on the basis of CCTV, forensic evidence and scientific evidence. The student has been apprehended. He remains our prime suspect," the CBI spokesperson said.
Up until now, a conductor working for the school, Ashok Kumar, was considered as the prime suspect by the police in the murder and they had arrested him on the very day of the killing.
The police had grounded their investigation on a claim that they had managed to secure a confession from the conductor. The conductor’s family, however, had all this while claimed that he was being framed.
Ashok's family members had claimed that he was being framed while Pradyuman's parents had accused the school of a cover-up and had alleged that the police had done a shoddy job.
"Ashok was framed due to pressure from the school. He was beaten up and given an injection," the conductor's wife had told CNN-News18.
It was only after sustained pressure from the parents and the media that the Manoharlal Khattar government in Haryana transferred the murder case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
After thorough investigation based on scientific evidences incl. inspection of scene of crime, forensic analysis, analysis of CCTV & call records, CBI apprehended the student: CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal on #Pradyuman murder case pic.twitter.com/W1IuOl5dYT
— ANI (@ANI) November 8, 2017
The murder weapon recovered by the police has also been brought into question. Ashok's defence counsel, Mohit Verma, was quoted by 101Reporters as saying, "If CBI had recovered the weapon used in the crime, then what was the weapon that the police officials had recovered earlier and claimed it to be the murder weapon?"
When asked about the earlier arrest of the bus conductor in the case, the Haryana DGP told media persons, "Koi baat nahi (It's alright). Now the investigation will go wherever the CBI probe goes."
'No sexual assault'
Another discrepancy in the police's investigations was brought to the fore when CBI ruled out the sexual assault angle in the case. According to ANI, CBI investigators dispelled the police's theory that Pradyuman was sexually assaulted.
An earlier News18 report had corroborated the CBI claim. The report said that the doctor who conducted the autopsy in the case had said that Pradyuman was not sexually assaulted.
"The second point that came out in the report is that the child died due to excessive bleeding. There was no sexual assault on the minor and no semen marks were found on his school dress," the report quoted Dr Deepak Mathur as saying.
However, an IANS report on Wednesday said that the detained student is suspected of having watched a pornographic clip in the morning, and on seeing Pradyuman in the school bathroom, he might have tried to sexually assault him when he entered it, minutes after he was dropped by his father.
With inputs from agencies
Published Date: Nov 08, 2017 14:13 PM | Updated Date: Nov 08, 2017 14:22 PM