While the CBI arrested a Class XI student for the murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur on November 7, it had identified the “prime suspect” almost one-and-a-half months ago. A Haryana court order shows that the CBI raided the house of the juvenile on September 29 and seized certain articles and documents. This was barely six days after it had taken over the case from the Gurgaon police, which had arrested a bus conductor in connection with the murder.
Asked why it then took over a month for the agency to apprehend the juvenile, a CBI spokesperson refused to comment, saying the matter is between the court and the agency. A CBI officer, however, said it takes time to collect concrete evidence in a case, and only then does the agency move ahead with the arrest.
Pradyuman, a Class II student at Ryan International School’s Bhondsi branch, was found murdered — his throat slit with a knife — on the morning of September 8 inside the school washroom. By evening, Gurgaon Police had arrested bus conductor Ashok Kumar in connection with the murder, and had claimed that he tried to sexually assault the child and killed him after he raised an alarm.
After Pradyuman’s parents expressed dissatisfaction with the investigation, the probe was transferred to the CBI, which registered a case on September 22.
The September 28 court order states: “Heard. Pending investigation, all the three accused are remanded in judicial custody till 12.10.2017. Judicial remand made by video conferencing on this date, awaiting challan. “An application for intimation of search conducted u/s 165 CrPC on 28.9.17 at the residence of one (name of the accused’s father), student of Class XI of Ryan International School and permission to retain the seized articles/documents for the purpose of investigation, filed. “Heard. CBI is permitted to retain the seized articles/documents for the purpose of investigation of the instant case.”
The order mentions the case as State vs Ashok etc. DCP CBI/SC III of New Delhi, Ajay Kumar Bassi, was also present in court. The CBI on Friday questioned the apprehended student the entire day. On Thursday, the agency took the boy to Sohna to ascertain the shop from where he bought the knife allegedly used in the murder.
Sources, however, said the shopkeeper was unable to recognise the apprehended boy as the one who bought the knife. He reportedly told CBI officials that several knives are sold by him every day, and he does not remember each customer.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged in a briefing to the media that the government deliberately made the revelation about the twist in the Pradyuman murder case on November 8 to deflect attention from the demonetisation anniversary.