A 13-year-old student of Class 7 was found dead under mysterious circumstances on the campus of a private residential school in Tupudana police station area of the district in the early hours of Friday. A murder case has been registered on a complaint lodged by his father. At least three teachers have been detained by the police for questioning. The police said that, prima facie, it appeared to be a case of murder.
Further, the police are also looking into the possibility of the boy having been subjected to sexual assault, as some incriminating materials were recovered from the flat in which the detained teachers were staying. The incident occurred in Sapphire International School, which is spread over 40 acres and located nearly 22 km from the city on Ranchi-Khunti Road. Vinay Mahato, son of Man Bahal Mahato, a businessman living in Jagannathpur area of Ranchi, was found lying unconscious with severe head injuries in the lobby to the teachers’ residential flats around 1 a.m. His father was informed about the incident around 3.30 am.
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Ranchi Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Dwivedi said: “We are awaiting the postmortem report. We are questioning many people from the school and examining evidence. At present, I am not in a position to comment.”
Additional Superintendent of Police (Hatia), Prashant Anand, said: “Every possibility is being looked into. A few incriminating things have been recovered. Prima facie, there is evidence to suggest that it is a case of murder. We are questioning some teachers, who could be involved.”
Efforts to contact School Principal Dhruva Das did not yield result.
The police are trying to figure out why Vinay, who stayed in the boys’ hostel, walked all the way to the teachers’ flats, located nearly six to seven hundred metres, beyond midnight. His body was found in the approach to the lobby. The body had injury marks on and around his face and jaw.
“Students are not allowed even during day time to come to the teachers’ flats. It is surprising why the boy came all the way to this area of the campus,” said Anil Kumar Mishra, Head of Department (Hindi), and a resident of the ground floor flat.
He said he was woken up by the commotion that started when a teacher spotted the boy. “He was still alive and he was rushed to the nearby hospital, but he succumbed mid-way,” said Mishra. He further added that the boy did not have slippers on and was in his night dress, given to the students by the school. He was not wearing any pull over.
The CCTV footage reportedly showed the boy leaving the boys’ hostel, while waving at somebody. However, nobody else was seen in the footage at the entrance and in the lobby. The police have also seized a laptop and some other incriminating material from the other ground floor flat in which three teachers lived on a sharing basis.
Teachers on the campus said that the Annual Day of the school was to be held on February 6.
“Vinay was good in studies and was also supposed to participate in dance programme. He was good at extra-curricular activities, besides being a well above average student. However, he was complaining of ill health and slight fever for the past couple of days. Otherwise, we never saw any signs of distress in him. He was a student since Class 1 and his two brothers are also studying in the same school. He used to be cheerful,” said a teacher, on the condition of anonymity.