Ryan International Group of Institutions’ CEO Ryan Pinto and his parents, who are the founders of the group, approached the Bombay High Court on Monday seeking anticipatory bail in connection with the murder of the Class II student at the Ryan International School in Gurugram last week.
The applications have been posted for hearing on Tuesday. While Ryan’s father Augustine Pinto is the founding chairman of the institution, his mother Grace Pinto is the managing director. Last Friday, seven-year-old Pradhuman Thakur was found in the washroom of the school with his throat slit. According to initial reports, the murder was allegedly committed by the school’s bus conductor who slit the child’s throat with a kitchen knife after allegedly attempting to sexually assault him.
According to the applications filed by the Pintos, they have claimed that while the death of the boy was unfortunate, the management cannot be held culpable when they themselves were victims of the unfortunate circumstances.
“The death has caused deep pain and grief not only to the parents and family of the seven-year-old child but also to the trustees, its entire staff, students and management,” the applications said. “Despite all necessary steps for security and well being of the students as required by law and prudence, if such an unfortunate incident occurs then the institution cannot be held culpable as it is itself a victim of unfortunate circumstances,” they said in the bail pleas.
According to the applications, since they apprehend action against themselves in the matter, they were approaching the court to grant them transit protection from arrest so that they can approach the “appropriate judicial authority in Haryana”. The application read: “We are residents of Mumbai and the overall management of the institution is being carried out from the Mumbai office. The day-to-day management of each school is taken care by the local staff appointed by the management.”
In the application they said the trustees and the management were cooperating with the police to the best of their ability.
The application also claimed that while no stranger is allowed to enter the school premises without due permission from the management, bus drivers and the conductors, who have been given identity cards, are allowed to use basic amenities like toilets on the school premises on “humanitarian grounds”.
“This is not only the darkest hour for the family but also for the institution. Such an incident has taken place for the first time in the past four decades since the institution was set up,” the bail pleas read.
According to the applications, because of the CCTVs placed at the entrance of the washroom, the culprit could be identified immediately.
In another development in Gurugram, three days after the student of Ryan International School, Bhondsi, was murdered, Gurgaon Police started holding officials accountable for “lapses”, arresting the regional head and the human resources head of the Ryan International Group of Institutions on Sunday night.
“Two persons of the school management, namely Francis Thomas, the regional head of the group, and Jeyus Thomas, the HR head, were arrested late Sunday night,” confirmed Gurgaon Police PRO Ravinder Kumar.
Police said both officials were arrested under Section 75 (care and punishment) of the Juvenile Justice Act, which was added on Sunday after a three-member sub-committee, formed by the district administration to investigate the incident, found that the school had defaulted on several counts.
The report of the sub-committee was also submitted to Deputy Commissioner, Vinay Pratap Singh, on Monday, and forwarded to the Director of the Department of Secondary Education. “The committee found several lapses… There were not enough CCTV cameras, there were no separate toilets for support staff like drivers and conductors, the toilets for students were found to be unsafe, the boundary wall was broken in some places, there was no ramp, fire extinguishers were found to have crossed their expiry dates, and the support staff employed at the school had not been verified by the police,” said Singh.
The two arrested members of the management were produced in court Monday and remanded in two day police custody. A team of two police officers from Gurgaon have left for Mumbai. Gurgaon Commissioner of Police Sandeep Khirwar said: “We have sent a team to study the organisational structure and scrutinise records. If need be, people will be questioned and arrested.”