Gurgaon school murder: 10 reasons why the conductor appears to be a scapegoat

A lot of pieces do not fit the puzzle

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Vikrant Jha

On September 8, early morning at around 8 o’clock, the news of a seven-year-old child’s brutal murder in the washroom of Ryan International School, Bhodsi (Gurugram, Haryana), broke.

Within a few hours of the crime, the police arrested three people in connection with the case and in a very short while after naming the suspects (say about half an hour), Police revealed the identity of the accused killer: bus conductor Ashok Kumar. Ashok Kumar, the conductor who was asked by a teacher and the vice-principal of the school to carry Pradyuman’s bleeding body just a few hours ago, apparently had confessed to it that he had murdered the child, the police claimed.

As per recent reports, Mohit Verma, the counsel for the accused conductor, Ashok, told India TV that the confession was extracted out of the accused under pressure. He was hung upside down and beaten with lathis, Verma further claimed. When asked about Ashok’s on-camera confession of the crime, Ashok’s lawyer said police had administered drugs to his client to get him to confess to the crime. Gardener Harpal too has said that he was tortured by police to force a confession out of him. Meanwhile, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar has reportedly ordered a CBI probe into the matter.

Ashok Kumar, however, seems to be just a scapegoat. Here’s why:

  1. The incident happened at the busiest time in school when parents were dropping children off, teachers were assembling, the school assembly was due. How is it that there was no one who crossed the toilet which is situated near the reception and not heard the cries and screams of the victim?
  2. The police claim that Ashok Kumar tried to sexually assault the child and when he resisted, the conductor allegedly killed him with a knife “that he had stolen from the toolkit of the school bus”. The postmortem report, however, states, “there were no physical injury marks on the body. Body samples were sent for forensic analysis, which established that he was not sexually assaulted."
  3. The police claim that the knife Ashok used was stolen from the bus’s toolkit. “There was no knife in the toolkit of the bus,” bus driver Saurabh Raghav claims. Actually no automobile toolkit has a knife.
  4. Pradyuman, according to the police, entered the toilet and caught Kumar 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 post-mortem report invalidates the claim as there is no injury mark on the child’s body besides the two cuts on his neck, as per the report.
  5. The police claim that Ashok’s shirt had blood stains on it and that was the reason for which he was arrested. Gardener Harpal, who reportedly was the first one to notice the dead body, says, “Anju ma'am asked me to lift Pradyuman but I declined as I am physically weak. By that time, Kumar had appeared there and the teachers and others asked him to carry Pradyuman. Kumar, without wasting time, picked the child up and carried him to a WagonR car and put him inside. I did not notice any suspicious activity from Ashok Kumar. He was behaving normally though his shirt was soaked in blood while carrying Pradyuman. He was very quiet and calm.”
  6. The police say Kumar had a disturbed relationship with his wife which may have been the reason for his attempt to sexually assault the boy. His wife has already refuted the claims and Manoj Kumar, Principal of Vivek Bharti School, Ghamroj where Ashok had worked before joining Ryan International School and his wife and father still work, claims, “none of his family members, his father or his wife or his two kids, ever complained about his behaviour.”
  7. The police say it has received CCTV footages which establish that Ashok had gone into the toilet after the kid and they say they don’t have any doubt about his involvement in the murder. The window of the toilet, however, was broken and anyone could have entered or exited without being noticed. Isn’t there a probability that someone might have entered through the window?
  8. The conductor confessed before the media that he attacked the child from the front and not from behind. Why was there no blood on his body or footwear if he attacked him from the front?
  9. Kumar’s villagers in Ghamroj claim no police official tried to verify his character in the neighbourhood. A person who has lived at a place for 42 years (since birth), won’t the villagers be knowing the person in and out and will tell the police about his behaviour? The villagers, though, in unison claim that Ashok is being made a scapegoat.
  10. The school had reportedly claimed that the victim was still alive when he was being taken to the hospital. The postmortem report reveals that “he died within two minutes of suffering injury on his neck as his wind pipe was slit.” Why was there no investigation against such claims? A school teacher had also made Pradyuman’s classmate(s) wash the water bottle which was soaked in blood? Was evidence tampered with?

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