Two months after Pradyuman Thakur was found with his throat slit at a school near Delhi, the CBI says it believes a student of Class 11 at the same school committed the murder that stunned the country. Sources in the CBI say that the student they detained last night killed the younger child because he was academically weak and believed the school would postpone exams as a result of the crime.
CBI sources said they have recovered the knife used to kill Pradyuman from the bathroom where the seven-year-old’s throat was slit and that a bus conductor arrested earlier for the murder is no longer the main suspect.
The detained student’s father told news agency ANI, “My boy is innocent.” He said that his son – whose identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons – had, in fact, alerted teachers at Ryan International, an expensive private school in Gurgaon, that Pradyuman had been attacked. “The CBI questioned him four times,” the father said, his face mosaicked in the interview. “What happened to the child who died is so wrong, but that another child should go through injustice is also unfair.”
“Ask anyone at the school…did they see any blood on him? I can tell you there was not a single spot of blood on his clothes,” he said.
The CBI says that four days ago, other students told investigators that the alleged killer had told them that exams would be postponed. While questioning him repeatedly, in part because he had flagged the injured child to school officials at the time of the assault, they determined that he had killed Pradyuman.
Pradyuman, 7, was dropped off at school by his father on September 8. Soon after, he went to use the bathroom. Security camera footage showed the child crawling out, holding his slit neck, and collapsing next to a wall, a pool of blood around him. The police said that another figure filmed exiting the bathroom before the injured child was a bus conductor who had confessed to killing Pradyuman because he resisted sexual assault.
But the CBI, which took over the case from the Gurgaon police last month, says that the CCTV footage that was referred to earlier was just a part of the available video. Upon scrutiny, investigators found that five people were seen standing outside the bathroom after Pradyuman was attacked inside; among them, they say, is the Class 11 student.
The detained student will be produced before a Juvenile Justice Board today.
Pradyuman’s father, Varun Thakur, told NDTV that the bus conductor’s arrest was not convincing and seemed like a cop out by the Gurgaon police. He said he believes the CBI’s version.