March 1, 2018 2:43:45 am
Almost six months after he was first accused of the murder of a Class II student at a private school in Gurgaon, bus conductor Ashok Kumar was acquitted of all charges by a Special Children’s Court in Gurgaon on Wednesday afternoon.
“The chargesheet had found, and the CBI had also stated, that he had no role to play in the murder. The court has accepted this today and acquitted him of all charges,” said Sushil Tekriwal, counsel for the victim’s father. The student was found in the ground-floor bathroom of the school with his throat slit. Gurgaon Police had arrested Kumar the same day, claiming that he had confessed to killing the student. Police had also alleged that he tried to sexually assault the child.
But after CBI took over the case, a Class XI student from the school was apprehended, with the agency stating that he had confessed to killing the child in the hope of cancelling the examinations and a parent-teacher meeting.
Kumar was granted bail on November 21, and returned to his home in Ghamroj village the next day, after spending almost three months in prison. The CBI had already filed a partial chargesheet in the case on February 5, naming only the Class XI student, currently lodged at an observation home in Faridabad, as the accused, and giving Kumar a clean chit.
“No evidence has come on record to substantiate the involvement of Kumar… No bloodstain was found either on his clothes or his person before he lifted the victim. Kumar’s presence inside the washroom has been explained and found to be justified and true based on independent version of several witnesses and minute analysis of CCTV footage,” stated the chargesheet. “It is, therefore… prayed that since no evidence has been found by CBI against Kumar… this Hon’ble court may kindly discharge him.”
The chargesheet also stated that a confession had been forced out of him by Gurgaon Police personnel, who allegedly “tortured” and “threatened” him. “Now that his acquittal has been secured, we will file a case against Gurgaon Police for compensation. They will have to answer for his ordeal,” said Mohit Verma, Kumar’s lawyer.
The court also asked the CBI to merge the state’s FIR with its own to avoid duplicity in litigation, and directed the agency to finish the probe and file a complete chargesheet by April 10.
Two officials from the school who are currently out on bail have been asked to appear before the court on April 10, with the CBI now probing the role of Gurgaon Police’s special investigation team and the school management. On an appeal filed by the juvenile’s lawyers, challenging the decision of the Juvenile Justice Board to treat him as an adult during trial, the court said final arguments in the matter will take place on March 10, and the order regarding it will be passed the same day.
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