In Gurgaon School Murder, Crucial CCTV Was Ignored Earlier, Says CBI

GURGAON:  A week after Pradyuman Thakur died at school in Gurgaon, the police cited security camera footage to assert its claim that a bus conductor was the murderer.

The video, not publicly released but seen by some reporters, showed Pradyuman, 7, crawling out of the school's bathroom seconds after his throat had been slit. He collapses near a wall outside, his blood puddling around him. The same camera had recorded the bus conductor, Ashok Kumar, entering the bathroom before the child went in.

He emerges first. The child follows, holding his neck. His windpipe had been slashed open. He died within minutes.

The CBI today said that the CCTV that the police referred to was just a part of the available video. Sources in the premier investigating agency, which took over the case last month, say that the Gurgaon police committed many errors. Among them, the fact that the extended video shows five people outside the bathroom - an injured Pradyuman, three students and the bus conductor.

In that group, the CBI says, was a Class 11 student who is now considered the main suspect and was taken into detention last night. The same student reportedly called out to a school gardener to alert him to a bleeding Pradyuman. The conductor who was later arrested helped carry his body to a car which rushed Pradyuman to hospital (though he was dead by then).
The Gurgaon police said that Ashok Kumar, the conductor, who was employed by a private firm that operated school buses, had used an instrument from his toolkit to slit open Pradyuman's neck when he resisted sexual assault in the bathroom. The police also claimed that Ashok Kumar had confessed to the killing.

But the CBI says that a search of the toilet led it to a knife, concealed in a pot, that the Class 11 student had been seen with in school before the murder. The student also allegedly told classmates that their exams would be postponed. CBI sources say the teenager was in counselling and academically week and that he believed the crime would delay exams and a parent-teacher meeting.

His father has denied the accusations, stating that the teen "had not one spot of blood on his clothes" and is being framed. Ashok Kumar's family says the same.

Pradyuman's father, Varun Thakur, said that he never believed the Gurgaon police's theory about the conductor and feels the CBI has cracked the case.




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