Updated: September 10, 2017 9:37:15 am
The accused in the murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur is a father of two boys, aged seven and nine. His family spent Saturday afternoon trying to keep the brothers indoors, away from the crowd that had gathered outside their home in Ghamroj village, barely five kilometres from Ryan International School.
According to his family, Ashok Kumar left his house to go to the school, where he worked as a bus conductor, at 5.30 am on Friday. Later in the day, they got word that a Class II boy’s throat had been slit at the school, and Ashok was the main accused. Around 1.30 pm on Friday, Dinesh Kumar, who works as a bus driver at the school and hails from the same village, came to their home along with some others to collect Ashok’s documents. “They took copies of his Aadhaar card, voter ID and two photographs.
When I had spoken to Ashok around 11 am, hours after the murder, he told me he had helped the school put the boy in a vehicle. He did not say anything else about the incident,” Dinesh said.
According to police, once the boy’s body was discovered, Ashok had rushed towards it and cried for help, allegedly in a bid to mislead eyewitnesses.
Ashok’s wife, Mamta Dherwal, refused to believe her husband was involved in the incident. Dherwal, who has been married to Ashok for 12 years, maintained that he had been framed and urged police to check CCTV footage.
A Class V dropout, Kumar has worked at a school in the past as well, his family claimed.
“I work as a safai karamchari at a school, about two kilometres from here. Both my sons study there. My husband used to work as a bus driver there till February this year. He used to get around Rs 4,000-5,000 every month. His driving licence expired, otherwise he would have worked as a bus driver at Ryan International as well. But he was getting paid more there — around Rs 7,000-8,000 per month — even though he was a bus conductor,” Dherwal said.
Speaking to some TV channels on Saturday morning, Ashok said, “I had taken a knife, which was lying in the bus, to the toilet. I thought I will wash it and take it home. I was using the toilet when the boy entered… my mind got corrupted (bhrasht)… I pulled him in… He resisted and started making noise. I got scared and slit his throat with the knife… I was scared people will beat me if he told anyone.”
In the courtyard of their house in Ghamroj village, Kumar’s 65-year-old father Ami Chand squatted on the floor and asked, “How long will he be in jail for if the court pronounces him guilty?”
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