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NEW DELHI: The CBI’s probe into the killing of Pradhyumn has revealed that Gurgaon police planted the murder weapon, a knife, on school bus conductor Ashok Kumar as they accused him of being the killer and declared the case as “solved” within hours.
The two-month-long probe has established that the knife belonged to the 16-year-old student of Ryan school who has been detained in connection with the shocking crime. “The knife was bought by the juvenile from a local shop and he brought it with him inside the school. This is the only knife which was recovered and so the claim of Gurgaon police that Ashok Kumar brought it inside the school and used it to kill the boy has no basis whatsoever,” a CBI officer told TOI on the condition of anonymity.
He also said that on Thursday, the detained juvenile guided a CBI team to the shop from where he had bought the knife. “He has confessed in front of his father, an independent witness and welfare officer of the CBI,” the officer said, referring to what he called the statement of Pradhyumn’s senior in the school. “He has disclosed that he slit the throat within seconds and left the toilet. There was no resistance from Pradhyumn whatsoever as he didn’t get time to react,” the officer said.
This demolishes Gurgaon police’s theory that the bus conductor, who was even made to confess to the ghastly crime, had taken the knife from the toolkit of the school bus and was cleaning it in the school washroom when he chanced upon seven-year-old Pradhyumn. The local cops claimed the conductor tried to sexually assault the child, before slitting his throat. They bolstered their claim by citing the CCTV footage of Ashok coming out of the washroom around the time the murder took place.
CBI sources claimed that the knife, the only “murder weapon”, was actually recovered from the commode of the washroom where it had been thrown by the juvenile who allegedly slit Pradhyumn’s throat merely to get the examination and parent-teachers meet postponed.
Importantly, Gurgaon police kept quiet on where this knife was recovered from.
The CBI’s investigation, sources claimed, established that the alleged recovery of the knife from Ashok was part of a crude frame-up the police allegedly resorted to as it was under tremendous pressure as the public was clamouring for instant result. Gurgaon police, citing the recovery of the murder weapon and CCTV footage of Ashok emerging out of the washroom, had declared the case “solved” the same day.
In such cases, where the CBI finds any loopholes in local police investigation, it usually informs the department concerned and the court about it.
While the CBI has officially refused to say whether Ashok has been given a clean chit, sources said, “They have nothing against him.”
The CBI’s claim has been disputed by the juvenile’s family. Sources, however, strongly stood by the agency’s findings which may result in Ashok Kumar being absolved of the crime allegedly pinned on him. “All the circumstantial evidence and statements of witnesses, analysis of CCTV and technical data prove the involvement of the juvenile. We may also send clothes, Pradhyumn’s school uniform, the knife and other objects may soon be sent to retrieve any DNA evidence,” a source said.
Based on CCTV footage and analysis of the crime scene, the agency examined all potential suspects and witnesses, the list, including 125 teachers, students and employees, including some former ones of the school,
Sources refused to put forward explanations for what would, going by the results of their probe, amount to criminal conduct of the cops concerned. “We cannot give a quality judgment on why the Gurgaon police did this but we have strong evidence to show that the juvenile killed Pradhyumn that day. We will present this evidence before the juvenile justice board at the appropriate time,” the officer said.
Significantly, Gurgaon police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar refrained from taking issue with CBI’s findings, but defended his team by saying that they were yet to complete the probe when the case was handed over to the CBI. Asked why Ashok Kumar was arrested, Khirwar, who served as DIG with the CBI, said the police were “taking all the logical steps during the investigation and going where the evidence took us”. On why Gurgaon police didn’t probe the juvenile, whom CBI has called the “prime suspect”, Khirwar said, “Investigation is a time consuming process and the probe was taken over by the agency 12-13 days after the incident.”
Khirwar arrived in the country a day after the murder, on September 8. DCP Ashok Bakshi, who headed the special investigating team, and DCP (crime) Sumit Kuhar, were present at the murder scene. Asked what led to Kumar’s arrest, Bakshi refused to answer. Kuhar said the “probe was under DCP Bakshi”.