Ryan International Murder: Police Probe Makes the Case Murkier


Accused Ashok Kumar being escorted by police on 9 September.
Accused Ashok Kumar being escorted by police on 9 September.(Photo: PTI/Altered by Rahul Gupta/The Quint)

Ryan International Murder: Police Probe Makes the Case Murkier

There are several unanswered questions in the murder of 7-year-old Ryan International student, Pradyumn Thakur, who was found in a blood of pool inside a school toilet on 8 September. Gurugram Police cracked the case on the same day and arrested the conductor of the school bus, Ashok Kumar. And interestingly, within hours of the arrest, the conductor was paraded before the media by the police, where he confessed to his crime. Generally, Gurugram Police prefers to keep even a thief away from the media.

The Quint spoke to several senior Gurugram Police officials to find out details of the probe. The police stand by their investigation and claim that it is the conductor who murdered Pradyumn.

Police Version of the Investigation So Far

Here is the full narrative of the Gurugram Police investigation into the case:

Who’s Ashok Kumar?

The conductor Ashok Kumar lives in Ghamroj village, around 17 kms from Gurugram, with his wife and two children. According to the police, Kumar had a disturbed relationship with his wife. He had been working in Ryan International School for eight months. He was hired by the school through a contractor. Police also claim that no proper police verification was carried out on the conductor.

What Happened That Day?

According to the police, the conductor has told investigators that he was facing a water problem at his home because of which he slept late at around 1:30 am in the intervening night of 7-8 September. Like every day, he left his house at around 5 am for duty. He picked up children from the route assigned to him by the school and reached school premises around 7:45 am. Later, he went to the children’s toilet to freshen up and clean his knife – though the driver has said he was made to confess about the knife being present in the toolkit under duress. Police claim there is no separate toilet for school staff.

Meanwhile, Pradyumn, who was carrying his school bag and water bottle, entered the toilet and caught him masturbating. The conductor panicked that the child might tell someone, which would mean he might get beaten up or lose his job. So the conductor approached the child and pushed him, causing him to fall and hit the commode. The child then screamed and tried to run away but the conductor held him from behind and slit this throat twice. After that, the conductor escaped from the toilet and moved towards the water dispenser to drink water, while Pradyumn crawled out of the toilet into the corridor.

The question remains, why didn’t he run from the school? According to police, the conductor was too shaken up about the incident and didn’t really know what to do. He thought he would be safer in the crowd. That’s why he lifted Pradyumn’s body from the spot and took him to the car.

Police also alleged that the conductor attempted to sexually abuse the child, but the postmortem report has rubbished these claims.

Evidence In The Case

According to the police, there are three primary witnesses in the case; two schoolchildren and a gardener. The schoolchildren say they saw the conductor going inside the toilet, whereas the gardener says he saw Pradyumn crawling out of the toilet after he was attacked.

Police have also collected CCTV footage of two cameras that were located near the toilet.

We have enough evidence to establish the conductor’s presence inside the toilet. We don’t have any doubt about his involvement in the murder. We have strong evidence against him.
Senior Police Officer, Gurugram 

As of now, police haven’t disclosed to have identified any eyewitnesses to the murder. Isn’t it strange that during the busiest hour of the school, no one was inside the toilet except for the conductor and the child?

Postmortem Doctor’s Version

The Quint spoke to Dr Deepak Mathur who conducted the postmortem on Pradyumn’s body. According to him, the child wasn’t molested. The murderer held the child from behind and slit his throat twice. The first slit was 12 cm long and superficial, while the second, made within seconds of the first, was a deep cut and 18 cm long.

The second slit was deep and fatal. The child was taken by surprise, that’s why there was no bruise mark on his body to show that he resisted. 
Dr Deepak Mathur

According to the police and the conductor’s confession, the child hit the commode when he was pushed by the conductor. So how come there is no injury mark on the child’s body besides the two cuts on his neck?

Another discrepancy is that the conductor confessed before the media that he attacked the child from the front and not from behind.

The Child Was Butchered

According to the doctor, the second slit of the knife was so deep that it literally cut the neck into two. He said that after the second cut, Pradyumn could have survived for only a minute.

Is it possible for a 7 year-old child to crawl out of the toilet after withstanding such a severe attack?

According to Dr Mathur, Pradyumn was murdered around 8 am on 8 September.

I am not convinced with the Police investigation because of the chain of events that occurred. How is it possible that everything happened in just 15 minutes and no one heard or saw the murder? Moreover, there are several missing links in the case. 
Barun Thakur, Pradyumn’s Father

Certainly, the police investigation is full of loopholes but the police are sticking to the conclusions of their investigation. Police are also saying that if required, they will request the court to allow a lie-detector test on the conductor.

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