Gurugram, Sep 11 (IANS) Two senior officials of the Ryan International School here have been arrested in connection with the murder of a seven-year-old boy in the school premises last week that sparked massive public outrage.
As police constituted at least a dozen teams to probe the brutal murder of Pradhuman, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and Haryana government on a plea by the slain boy’s father seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the September 8 killing of his son who was found with his throat slit in a school washroom.
Police said they also questioned the school staff even as a separate probe team team left for Mumbai to interrogate school CEO Ryan Pinto and director Augustine Pinto.
A senior Gurugram police officer told IANS that the school’s northern India head Francis Thomas and HR head Jeyus Thomas were arrested on Sunday night after their questioning.
“Francis Thomas and Jeyus Thomas were arrested under the Juvenile Justice Act,” the police officer said.
Both were produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate, first class, Mohammed Zakkaria, who sent them to two days police custody. Police also accused both of tampering with evidence.
On September 8, police arrested Ashok Kumar, a conductor of a school bus, 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. Kumar was also presented before the court as his three-day police custody had finished and was sent to 14 days judicial custody.
The Class 2 student’s murder led to angry protestors staging demonstrations outside the school located in Bhondsi on Sohna Road.
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.
Pradhuman’s mother Jyoti said the school management “misguided” them after the murder and his father Varun Thakur, a senior executive in a private firm in Gurugram, was compelled to move the Supreme Court for a probe by the CBI.
The apex court on Monday issued notice to the Centre, CBI and Haryana government on the plea by the father.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud also issued notice to the Union Human Resource Development Ministry and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Thakur’s plea seeking framing of guidelines for the safety of students in schools.
Thakur also sought the setting up of a committee to inquire into the lapses leading to the death of the child. He wanted to ensure that schools were made accountable in cases related to safety of children.
A bus conductor has been arrested and has confessed to the crime, police said. The school’s principal has been suspended while two other staffers have been arrested for negligence leading to the crime, police said.
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.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, the trustees of the Ryan International Schools filed an application in Bombay High Court seeking anticipatory transit bail to move an appropriate court in Haryana.
Augustine F. Pinto and his wife Grace Pinto, trustees of the St Xaviers Education Trust that manages the Ryan International Schools, have sought the bail.
“Yes, the trust’s lawyers have moved an application for an anticipatory transit bail to enable them to go to Haryana and file an application before an appropriate court for relief,” said an official connected to one of the schools in Mumbai, who declined to be identified.
The matter is likely to come up for hearing before the High Court on Tuesday, the official added.
The sudden move by the high-profile Pinto couple — Augustine, a former Sheriff of Mumbai and Grace, close to the top-ranking Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) echelons — came amidst reports that a Haryana Police team would question them and other trustees.
However, the names and whereabouts of the other trustees of the St Xaviers Educational Trust — registered as a Public Charitable Trust in Maharashtra in the early 1980s — are not known and it is not clear whether they would be implicated in the case.
Despite repeated attempts by IANS, the besieged Pintos and their lawyers were not available for comments in the matter.
Meanwhile, shaken by the incident, parents associations of Ryan International Schools in Mumbai, Delhi, Noida and other places protested seeking their children’s safety.
In a related development, a police officer was suspended on Monday for using force against journalists covering a protest outside the Ryan International School in Gurugram, authorities said.
“Inspector Arun Kumar, chief of Sohna police station, has been suspended with immediate effect for his lapse in duties,” a senior official said.
At least 50 people, including nine scribes and photo journalists, were injured on Sunday when police baton-charged the group of protestors outside the school building located in Bhondsi on Sohna road.
A liquor vend near the school was also set on fire.