Over three years have passed since bus conductor Ashok Kumar, according to the CBI, was falsely implicated by the Gurgaon police in a schoolboy’s murder, but the scars — both physical and mental — are yet to heal. His family said that beaten up in police custody, he can no longer do any physical labour and has been unable to find a job.
Recently, the CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet against four Gurgaon police officers for allegedly framing Kumar in the case.
The family — Kumar, his wife, two children aged 12 and 9, and his elderly father — stay in Ghamroj village in Gurgaon. His mother died just days ago, on January 1.
Kumar’s younger sister Sunita said, “He has not worked since his arrest. He was beaten so much that he can no longer lift heavy things or do manual work. It gets especially bad in the winter… Locals help out and we four sisters send across whatever we can from time to time.”
When The Sunday Express visited, Kumar was not at home, and the family said he had gone to Sohna to get painkiller injections as he had difficulty walking. “Disturbed” since the arrest, he hardly interacts with any outsider, the family added. Following his arrest, his wife Mamta also lost her cleaning job at the village school, and has not worked since.
For a while, the family depended on the earnings of Kumar’s father Amirchand, who worked as a security guard at a school earning Rs 6,000 per month. However, Amirchand said, “That stopped when the school closed due to the lockdown. I worry day and night — I’m sitting at home without work, my only son has been sitting without work… His job at the private school was good — he had worked there for eight months and was getting paid Rs 6,000 per month.”
Even as the family has lost jobs at various schools, the children ironically have not been able to attend classes throughout the past year. They are enrolled in the school where Amirchand worked, and while it has been holding online classes, they cannot afford the same. “We don’t have mobile phones needed for the online classes. We haven’t been able to pay fees since the lockdown either,” said Amirchand.
Kumar was arrested after an eight-year-old boy of a prominent private school in Gurgaon was found with his throat slit near the school toilet on September 8, 2017. Kumar worked as a bus conductor at the school, and the police claimed to have recovered a knife from him, and said he had killed the child after attempting to sodomise him. Kumar was paraded before the media, and confessed to the crime, apparently under duress.
It was when the CBI took over that the Gurgaon police case fell apart. The agency eventually arrested a senior student at the school, who allegedly murdered the child as he wanted to delay a parent-teacher meeting.
In the supplementary chargesheet filed in a special court in Panchkula, the agency has accused then SHO of Bhondsi police station Narender Singh Khatana, sub-inspector Shamsher Singh, ASI Subhash Chand and ACP (Sohna) Barem Singh of falsely implicating Kumar.
“A verdict from the courts against the police officers might be some justice for him and the family,” said Kumar’s uncle Om Prakash Chopra.
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