Ryan School murder: Trustees ‘vicariously responsible, answerable for culpability’, says Pradyuman’s father opposing their anticipatory bail pleas
The Bombay High Court will today hear the anticipatory bail pleas of the trustees of Ryan International Group in connection with the murder of a boy at a school run by the group in Gurgaon. The HC had yesterday extended the interim protection from arrest granted to Ryan Group's CEO Ryan Pinto and his parents - Augustine Pinto, the founding chairman of the group, and Grace, its managing director. The father of seven-year-old boy Pradyuman killed on the group's Gurugram campus yesterday sought to oppose their anticipatory bail pleas.
The Pintos, who sought protection from arrest till they have approached the court concerned in Haryana, were on Tuesday granted interim protection from arrest till Wednesday. Thakur's lawyer Sushil Tekriwal yesterday informed Justice Ajey Gadkari of his client's intervening application following which the court directed him to give a copy of it to the Pintos' counsel Niteen Pradhan.
In the application, Thakur said he is the complainant in the case and the petition of the trustees is "opposed in strongest possible terms and words as the instant case being a rarest of the rare case where a brutal, diabolical, cold blooded, barbarous, demonic, unpardonable, unprovoked, hellish, cruel homicide has taken place on the campus of Ryan International School."
Pradyuman was found with his throat slit on the morning of September 8 in the toilet of the school.
Police allege that 42-year-old bus conductor Ashok Kumar killed him with a knife after the boy resisted an attempt to sodomise him. Kumar has been arrested, though the police later denied any sexual assault on the boy.
The police have also arrested Ryan International Group's northern zone head Francis Thomas and the school's human resource head Jeyus Thomas. Francis was yesterday sent to three days police custody while Jeyus was remanded to five days judicial custody by a Sohna court.
The Gurgaon Police had arrested Francis and Jeyus, under relevant sections of the IPC and Juvenile Justice Act, following the gruesome murder of Pradhuman on Friday last.
Thakur alleged in his application that the school's trustees were "vicariously responsible, liable, accountable, answerable for the culpability and guilt for which the bail application should be dismissed in limine (at the threshold)."
"The remorseless, spineless and senseless approach and attitude of the school management, its directors/CEO and other top notch executives in this rarest case is absolutely inexcusable and hence, the present bail application deserves to be dismissed in toto," said the application.
Thakur said he was shocked by the trustees' statement that they are not part of the crime as they do not look after the day-to-day working of each school.
If the top management of the school can share in the plunder and prosperity, why should it not face the rule of law because of vicarious liability, the petition said.
He alleged in his petition that it appeared Pradyuman was meticulously murdered with foolproof planning and conspiracy, otherwise how a conductor sneaked inside with a brand new knife, slitting the throat in a surgically expert manner.
Thakur said the way the conductor took the child to the hospital and confessed to killing him immediately raised doubt which can be cleared during the custodial interrogation of people in the school management.
Thakur also said evidence like blood stains on the floor and clothes were wiped out.
The Pintos, in their pleas, said while the death of the boy was unfortunate, the management cannot be held culpable and that they themselves were victims of ‘unfortunate’ circumstances.
The death has caused deep pain and grief not only to the parents and family of the child but also to the trustees, management, staff and students of the school, they said in their applications, calling the incident the darkest hour for the victim's family and the institution.
Earlier in the day, five days after the gruesome murder, SIT teams searched the school premises for clues to the crime while a CBSE panel also inspected it to examine loopholes in the security arrangements.
The Gurgaon Police's Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the crime also took samples of fingerprints and shoes at the crime scene, including the toilet, a day after recreating the sequence of events there.
The SIT clicked photos and shot videos of the suspected places to examine the nature of the crime again.