Pradyuman murder: Ryan school senior held, conductor not guilty

Class 11 boy committed murder so exams would be postponed, says CBI.

New Delhi: In a stunning twist to the sensational murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur at Ryan International School in Gurgaon, the CBI has apprehended a Class 11 student, who allegedly wanted to postpone a parent-teacher meeting and exams, in connection with the case.

The Class 11 student, who is about 16 years old, was apprehended late Tuesday night for allegedly killing his junior inside the school, said a CBI spokesperson.

Pradyuman was found murdered on September 8 inside the Ryan International School. He was found dead with his throat slit inside the school’s washroom within an hour after his father dropped him at school that morning. The gruesome murder of class 2 student triggered a nation-wide furore.

The agency did not find any evidence against bus conductor Ashok Kumar, who was the Gurgaon police’s sole accused in the gruesome killing. The CBI’s findings will be a major embarrassment for the Gurgaon police, which had blamed Ashok and alleged that he was waiting in the toilet with a knife. The Gurgaon police had formed 14 SIT teams.

“Now that they have arrested this student, it has been proven that the doubt we had about the police investigation was right,” Pradyuman’s father Varun Thakur told media persons.

However, father of the Class 11 student told a television channel that his son was innocent and they had been co-operating with the police from day one. “My son didn’t do anything. He informed the gardener and teachers after finding Pradyuman’s body. He stayed in the school the entire day, and appeared for the exam. There was not even a single spot of blood on my son’s clothes,” the father said. Giving details, he said Tuesday was the fourth time they were called. “I reached there around 11 am. I left from there at 2 am and CCTV footage can be seen for that,” he said.

Talking to reporters here, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said, “The murder weapon, a knife, was found in the commode of the toilet where the killing allegedly took place. It was the same knife seized by the Gurgaon police. The bus conductor Ashok had no role to play in the murder. We are, however, still probing the destruction of evidence angle in the case”. According to the agency, the accused, believed to be weak in his studies, allegedly slit Pradyuman’s throat to get the school to declare a holiday in order to defer a scheduled PTM and an examination. A Gurugaon court on Wednesday sent the accused to a three-day CBI custody.

“The CBI was able to piece together elements of the crime by analysing the CCTV footage, scientific and forensic examination, analysis of the crime scene and by questioning students, teachers and staff of the school. The call detail records of all the suspects were also scrutinised,” said another senior official of the agency.

The official said the accused was weak in studies and was worried that in the upcoming examinations he was going to fail. “That is why he thought of doing something sensational to get the exams postponed”, he said. According to reports the prime accused had a history of bad behaviour.

The CBI spokesperson said the minor student was apprehended in accordance with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.

The agency has not found any evidence of sexual assault, he said. Although the Class 11 student had planned a killing on September 8, the “child in conflict with law” had not identified his target, Mr Dayal said, adding that It was a coincidence that Pradyuman reached the toilet and became a victim of the ghastly plan hatched by his senior.

The investigation is still on, he said, adding the crime was committed in just three to four minutes.

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