SC denies bail to teen who murdered Ryan School student
The teen accused of murdering his junior inside the Ryan International School in Gurugram in 2017 was denied bail by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. A three-judge bench, headed by Justice RF Nariman, said it won't interfere with the order of Punjab and Haryana High Court. The sensational case had caught the nation's attention years ago and was being investigated by CBI. Here's more.
On September 8, 2017, Class 2 student Pradyuman Thakur was found dead inside the school's washroom, with his throat slit. Hours after the murder was reported, Haryana Police claimed it had solved the case and caught the murderer — bus conductor Ashok Kumar. The police also claimed Kumar tried to sexually assault the deceased. He was taken into custody and thrashed brutally.
Haryana Police said Kumar "confessed" to the crime and also said a knife was found. Pradyuman's family, however, remained unconvinced, claiming that state police was eager to shut the case. After much furor, CBI was handed over the investigation and it became clear that Kumar was innocent. He repeatedly told sleuths that he hadn't murdered the child and that police tortured him in custody.
Weeks after the murder, CBI made a breakthrough by arresting another student, who was 16 years old at the time. This was the first time the premier investigative agency questioned a student. In November 2017, CBI said the accused admitted he killed Pradyuman, to postpone examinations. CBI also underlined that the autopsy report didn't say anything about sexual assault. The charge-sheet was filed in 2018.
In December 2017, a Juvenile Justice Board announced that the accused must be tried as an adult, citing he was "mentally and physiologically fit." The Gurugram Juvenile Justice Board also denied the delinquent bail in October 2018. A month later, an additional sessions judge upheld the order. In July this year, HC also rejected his bail plea, after which the top court was approached.
The bench, also including Justices Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee, said it heard the arguments of all sides, including the complainant's, extensively. "Since the petitioner is now being tried for the purposes of bail only as an adult, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment of the High Court at this stage. Accordingly, the Special Leave Petition is dismissed," SC said.
During the hearing, the accused contested HC erroneously observed that witnesses could be tampered with, and also argued that the trial may not start soon due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, CBI opposed the plea saying the Juvenile Justice Act can't be exploited. The lawyer for Pradyuman's father, Sushil Tekriwal, also argued that the accused should not be granted bail as he poses a serious threat.