After spending over two months in prison in connection with the murder of a seven-year-old student at Ryan International School, Bhondsi, bus conductor Ashok Kumar was granted bail by a district court in Gurgaon on Tuesday afternoon. The order was passed in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Rajni Yadav, 10 days after Kumar’s lawyer Mohit Verma filed the bail plea. Kumar was granted bail against a bond of Rs 50,000, with the court stating that lack of incriminating evidence and the fact that a juvenile has been apprehended for the crime were grounds for the decision.
Walking out of the courtroom after the decision was announced, Kumar’s father, Ami Chand, said, “We are very happy. My son was innocent and he will finally come home. We expect him to be released tomorrow (Wednesday). His children have been asking us when their father will return; today I can give them an answer.”
Among those who were let down by the decision, however, was Barun Thakur, father of the murdered student Pradyuman. Barun’s counsel had, in both hearings on the bail plea, opposed the application, stating that Kumar should “not be granted bail under any circumstances” since the CBI had not given him a clean chit yet.
The investigative agency had, in its reply to the bail plea, said that it had “no incriminating evidence” against Kumar, but had clarified that it was not eliminating anyone from the purview of the investigation.
Barun said, “I respect the decision of the court and hope that justice will be served.” Kumar was arrested in connection with the murder on September 8. Police had claimed that he had confessed to the crime, and that he wanted to sexually assault the child. Subsequently, the CBI took over the case and apprehended a juvenile, who is now the main accused and will be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board on Wednesday, with his 14 days of judicial custody coming to an end.
Meanwhile, Kumar’s uncle Om Prakash Chopra was summoned by the CBI for questioning in relation to an audio clip of a purported conversation between a relative of the juvenile and him. In the clip, the two allegedly discuss their respective situations.