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Ryan International CEO Pinto to be grilled in Mumbai over child's murder: Owners seek anticipatory bail

With questions being raised over the security lapses that led to the killing of a 7-year-old boy in Gurugram's Ryan International School on Friday, Haryana Police is sending a team to question the CEO of Ryan International Group Ryan Pinto in Mumbai, TV reports said.

CNN-News18 quoted Gurugram Police commissioner and reported that a total of 14 teams have been put together to crack this case and the teams will head to Mumbai to quiz the top brass of the organisation.

Owners of Ryan International School in Gurugram have moved the Bombay High Court for anticipatory bail ahead of Pinto’s questioning, News18 reported.

"The school's founding chairman and managing director, Augustine Pinto, and his wife Grace Pinto, who is the chairperson of the school, have along with their son Ryan Pinto sought anticipatory bail in the Bombay High Court," their counsel Niteen Pradhan told PTI.

Pradhan mentioned the applications on Monday morning before Justice Ajey Gadkari, who posted them for hearing on Tuesday.

Gurugram Commissioner and DCP have visited Ryan International School. Meanwhile, Bihar chief minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar talked to the victim's family over the phone and called Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who assured his Bihar counterpart that an impartial and fast probe was being conducted.

On Sunday, Pinto said the school should not be held "culpable of a crime where it is itself a victim of unfortunate circumstances." Insisting that the well being and safety of students is the school's priority, Pinto had said, "We will not succumb to all the false allegations being made, nor will we fuel the various controversies being spread. We should not unjustly be blamed or branded as the perpetrators." The Supreme Court has decided to hear a public interest litigation in this matter at 12.45 pm on Monday, CNN-News 18 reported. "They forced me to admit that the knife was part of the bus tool kit" This comes right after the arrest of a bus conductor has come under scrutiny after another staffer alleged that the accused and he were being forced to confess to a narrative. A bus driver who worked with the accused claimed that he was being forced by the police and school officials to admit that the knife used in the crime was part of the bus tool kit, India Today reported. "Since I am the driver of the bus in which Ashok Kumar (the main accused) was a conductor, I was interrogated by police officers and top officials of the school. They forced me to admit that the weapon of crime (knife) was part of the bus tool kit. They detained me till 1.30 am on Saturday and tried every possible way to terrorise me. Since the knife was not part of the toolkit, I categorically denied it," the report quoted the driver as saying.

People protest outside Ryan International School in Gurugram on Saturday. PTI

People protest outside Ryan International School in Gurugram on Saturday. PTI

The driver also said, "There was the principal, three teachers and some top school officials present along with the police officers on the campus. Officers in civil dress threatened to apply third degree on me if I did not admit that the knife was a part of the toolkit. I inspected the toolkit just a day earlier and I am 100 percent sure that the knife was not part of the toolkit." ANI reported on Monday that Ryan International Group's northern zone head Francis Thomas and the Bhondsi branch's coordinator were arrested by Gurugram Police on Sunday evening. CBI probe This development comes amid protests staged by hundreds of angry parents on Sunday who demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter, a demand echoed by former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The protests eventually turned violent, after which the police detained several parents.  "The Gurugram Police had to use mild lathicharge to disperse the agitators. The police detained over 20 protesters found agitating outside the school," police said. Reacting to the events, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar termed the baton charging in which some media persons covering the protest were also injured as "unfortunate", and ordered action against the erring policemen. Khattar also said that if the victim's parents insist on a probe by the CBI, the government is not averse to recommending the probe by premier investigating agency.

Reiterating that swift justice will be provided in the case, Haryana education minister Ram Bilas Sharma blamed the Ryan International School management and said that the state government will show no leniency to those behind the murder. Sharma added that the management and owner of the Ryan International School have already been booked under Section 75 of the Juvenile Act.

Major security lapses

Sharma also said a three-member fact-finding committee has found major security lapses on part of its management. He said that the committee has found that there were no separate toilets and washrooms for the 40 bus drivers and conductors of the school. "They had to use the students' toilets. No frisking of bus drivers and conductors were done. No security checking system was found in the school. No CCTV cameras were installed covering each and every corner inside school," the minister said.

Earlier, the Gurugram district administration on Saturday announced a committee to find out whether there were any errors in the investigation and promised to conclude the probe and filing of a chargesheet within seven days.

Meanwhile, CNN-News18 reported that the school will remain shut for two days as parents refused to send their kids to the institution on Monday.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Sep 12, 2017 08:48 AM

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