The Bombay High Court today extended till tomorrow the interim protection from arrest granted to the trustees of Ryan International Group, even as the father of the seven-year-old boy killed on the group’s Gurgaon campus sought to oppose their anticipatory bail pleas. The high court directed the boy’s father, Barun Thakur, to give the trustees a copy of his intervening application opposing their pre-arrest bail petitions. Thakur, the father of the Class 2 student Pradyuman, today filed an intervening application opposing the anticipatory bail pleas filed by the group’s CEO, Ryan Pinto, and his parents -Augustine Pinto, the founding chairman of the group, and Grace, its managing director. The Pintos, who sought protection from arrest till they have approached the court concerned in Haryana, were yesterday granted interim protection from arrest till today.
Thakur’s lawyer Sushil Tekriwal today informed Justice Ajey Gadkari of his client’s intervening application following which the court directed him to give a copy of it to the Pintos’ counsel Niteen Pradhan. “Until and unless you (Thakur) give a copy of the application to the applicants (Pintos), how do you expect them to respond? I will hear the pleas tomorrow. Interim relief to continue till then,” Justice Gadkari said. When Tekriwal started arguing the matter by mentioning the details of the killing, Justice Gadkari said he cannot hear the matter on merit as his court does not have the territorial jurisdiction. “This is only a plea for transit bail. I cannot hear the matter on merits,” the judge said.
In the application, Thakur said he is the complainant in the case and the petition of the trustees is “opposed in strongest possible terms and words as the instant case being a rarest of the rare case where a brutal, diabolical, cold blooded, barbarous, demonic, unpardonable, unprovoked, hellish, cruel homicide has taken place on the campus of Ryan International School.” Pradyuman was found with his throat slit on the morning of September 8 in the toilet of the school. Police allege that 42-year-old bus conductor Ashok Kumar killed him with a knife after the boy resisted an attempt to sodomise him. Kumar has been arrested. Thakur alleged in his application that the school’s trustees were “vicariously responsible, liable, accountable, answerable for the culpability and guilt for which the bail application should be dismissed in limine (at the threshold).”
“The remorseless, spineless and senseless approach and attitude of the school management, its directors/CEO and other top notch executives in this rarest case is absolutely inexcusable and hence, the present bail application deserves to be dismissed in toto,” said the application. Thakur said he was shocked by the trustees’ statement that they are not part of the crime as they do not look after the day-to-day working of each school. If the top management of the school can share in the “plunder and prosperity”, why should it not face the rule of law because of vicarious liability, the petition said. He alleged in his petition that it appeared “Pradyuman was meticulously murdered with foolproof planning and conspiracy, otherwise how a conductor sneaked inside with a brand new knife, slitting the throat in a surgically expert manner”.
Thakur said the way the conductor took the child to the hospital and confessed to killing him “immediately” raised doubt which can be cleared during the custodial interrogation of people in the school management. Thakur also said evidence like blood stains on the floor and clothes were wiped out.
The Pintos, in their pleas, said while the death of the boy was unfortunate, the management cannot be held culpable and that they themselves were victims of “unfortunate” circumstances. “The death has caused deep pain and grief not only to the parents and family of the child but also to the trustees, management, staff and students of the school,” they said in their applications, calling the incident the “darkest” hour for the victim’s family and the institution.