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2 top Ryan officials held for evidence tampering

| | Gurugram
2 top Ryan officials held for evidence tampering

After registering an FIR against the management of Ryan International School, Gurugram, police on Monday  arrested two top school officials in the Pradyuman’s murder case. Francis Thomas, regional head of the Ryan group of institutions, and HR head Jeyus Thomas — detained for questioning on Sunday night —  were remanded in police custody for two days. Apart from breaching the norms of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, the duo also tampered with evidence at the crime spot, said police. Bus conductor Ashok Kumar was arrested after publicly confessing to slitting the throat of the Class II student who he tried to sexually abuse inside the toilet at Ryan on Friday.

Police have detained the acting principal Neerja Batra for questioning in connection with the gruesome murder. Gurugram Police Commissioner Sandeep Khairwar said she is likely to be arrested soon.

Fourteen police teams constituted to probe the case, which has sparked huge public outrage, are questioning the school staff while an SIT team is headed to Mumbai to interrogate school CEO Ryan Pinto and director Albert Pinto, who on Monday moved the Bombay High Court for anticipatory bail.

Amid the ongoing probe, bus driver Saurabh Raghav has claimed that the Gurugram police and the school management forced him to confess that knife used in the crime was part of the bus tool kit and also that he gave false statements against conductor Ashok. Raghav also alleged he was beaten up by police.

Earlier in the day, angry and concerned parents staged protest outside Ryan Schools in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj and Rohini and in Noida and Gurugram as well. Parents alleged that school administration is not concerned about the safety and security of students. Had they taken corrective measures after the tragic death of 6-year-old Devyansh Kakrora on the Vasant Kunj’s branch premises last year, the murder of Pradyuman could have been averted.

Parents submitted a complaint to the Delhi Police about lack of security on and around school premises, alleging that CCTV cameras are non-functional and there is no restriction on the entry of outsiders into schools.

Meanwhile, Assistant Director General of Haryana Police (law and order) Mohammad Akil visited the school campus on Monday.  “The accused in the case has been arrested. The investigation team will leave no stone unturned for speedy justice. The chargesheet in the case will file on time,” the ADGP, said.

In a related action, the Police Commissioner suspended Inspector Arun, the SHO of Sadar police station at Sohna, for negligence,” ACP and Chief PRO of Gurugram Police Manish Sehgal said. The SHO was suspended for ordering baton charge on protesting parents and mediapersons who were present there to report the developments.

SHO’ suspension came after Haryana Chief Minister took cognisance of the unsavoury incident and directed police chief to take action. At least 50 people, including nine scribes and photo journalists, were injured on Sunday when police baton-charged a group of protestors in front of the school building on Sunday.

On September 8, police arrested Ashok, for the murder but many believe that he was made a scapegoat. The man’s family too claimed he was falsely implicated since he was poor. Ashok was also presented before the court as his three-day police custody had finished and was sent to 14 days judicial custody.

All Ryan group schools in Gurugram have been ordered to remain shut on Monday and Tuesday following directions of the district administration amid heightened security at the school premises.

A fact-finding sub enquiry committee has highlighted deficiencies in the installation of CCTV cameras at the school, lack of separate toilets for drivers and conductors, unsafe toilets, broken boundary wall, lack of ramps, expired fire extinguishers and lack of police verification of employees.

The district administration has asked the school to ensure safety at its premises and gave it 15 days’ time to reply to a show-cause notice.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has asserted that there will be no leniency and the school management will be held accountable. 



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