Ryan Murder: Did CBI Tap Phones of Accused Teen’s Family?
Too many questions  remain unanswered in the Pradyumn Thakur murder case.
Too many questions remain unanswered in the Pradyumn Thakur murder case.(Photo: Liju Joseph/The Quint)

Ryan Murder: Did CBI Tap Phones of Accused Teen’s Family?

The 16-year-old accused in the murder of Ryan International School student Pradyumn Thakur and his family were under the agency’s surveillance for over a month before he was apprehended, revealed sources in the CBI.

The CBI raided the residence of the accused on 28 September – 20 days after Pradyumn Thakur was found dead – and seized articles and documents from the premises, according to a court document. The accused teenager was arrested on 8 November.

CBI sources said investigators were collecting evidence not just against the juvenile accused, but also against those who tried to cover up the case.

The CCTV footage helped us in identifying the accused, that’s why we raided his house. But we delayed the arrest because we wanted to find out other conspirators including those involved in tampering with evidence and cover-up.
CBI Sources

The phones of the family of the accused were tapped to collect evidence against other conspirators – including the Gurugram Police and the Ryan International School authorities, according to CBI sources. The CBI remains tight-lipped on whether they will book those officers who were part of the investigation.

Evidence of a Cover-Up by Gurugram Police

The accused teenager was first named as a witness by the Gurugram Police. The new twist in the Ryan International School murder case is certainly unnerving. Considering that the CBI is so confident of its investigation based on the CCTV footage and other forensic evidence, how it is possible that the Gurugram Police missed such glaring evidence?

According to reports, a top officer in the Gurugram Police has claimed that his department failed to scrutinise eight seconds of the CCTV footage – where the accused teenager can be seen entering the toilet with Pradyumn Thakur.

The entire incident occurred in under 10 minutes, and the CCTV footage made available to the police and the CBI contained one, uninterrupted, unedited clip, CBI sources said. Then how could the Gurugram Police have missed out on this angle?

Even if we believe the Gurugram Police for a moment, how did they manage to get an extra-judicial statement from the bus conductor, on the basis of which they arrested him? It is important here to question as to whether the bus conductor was then coerced into making a confessional statement before the media.

The Gurugram Police made all efforts to make the 16-year-old accused a witness in their investigation, this is why his testimony under section 164 CrPc was recorded before the magistrate.

CK Sharma, the lawyer of the juvenile accused, said:

My client’s statement made as a witness under section 164 of CrPC was recorded before the Magistrate on the request of the Gurugram Police. He has apparently said that he saw Pradyumn crawling out of the toilet.

This proves that the Gurugram Police had questioned the teenager.

But now, the CBI may be interested in finding out whether the Gurugram Police intentionally tried to protect the juvenile accused by making him a witness despite the availability of the incriminating CCTV footage. If that is the case, then why?

CBI Had Access to More CCTV Footage: Gurugram Police Sources

On 14 November, the Gurugram police admitted to the loopholes in their investigation in the Ryan murder case.

Gurugram Police sources told The Quint they only had access to footage from one CCTV camera, while the CBI managed to gather footage from two CCTV cameras.

CBI sources said the Gurugram Police had handed over the CCTV footage – along with other case material – after the case was transferred to the CBI.

The CBI is likely to refrain from opposing the bail of the bus conductor in the court on 16 November. The CBI will inform the court about the development in the investigation and in doing so, the agency will also emphasise the facts which rule out his involvement.

(This is a developing story and will be updated.)

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