Ryan Murder Case : Gardener Was Forced To Make False Confession By Police

Ryan Murder Case : Gardener Was Forced To Make False Confession By Police

A gardener at Ryan International School, Bhondsi, said on Thursday he was slapped, beaten with sticks and his head dunked in water by police to force a confession out of him after the murder of Class 2 student Pradhyumn Thakur in a washroom on the campus last Friday.

This is the second time this week that the methods used by police in the probe have been called into question after bus driver Saurav Raghavalleged the cops put “mental pressure” on him to force him to admit he was an accomplice in the crime.

Gardener Harpal and Raghav were among those detained after Pradhyumn’s murder last Friday. Eventually, Ashok Kumar, conductor of the Ryan school bus that Raghav drives, was arrested for the murder. The family of the 42-year-old Kumar has alleged he confessed under duress since he was tortured. Police, however, say they have strong evidence to prove Kumar is the killer.

Harpal, a key witness in the murder case, was called for questioning once again on Thursday and TOI spoke to him after that. He said he was not the first one to see the boy lying with his throat slit — unlike what initial reports based on eyewitness accounts and police sources had suggested — but was the first to report it to a teacher.

“My duty starts at 7am in the school. After reaching school last Friday, I had worked for at least half an hour. There are three gardeners in the school. Two other gardeners were working when I came inside to drink water from the cooler. The cooler is placed just outside the (ground floor) washroom. I drank and started walking back but hadn’t even reached midway when I heard screams. There were two to three kids who said, ‘uncle ji, what has happened to this kid’, pointing to Pradhyumn. I also got nervous. The kids then told me ‘uncle, go and call Anju madam’ (junior school section-in-charge Anju Dudeja).”

When he came back with the teacher, he said Ashok had also arrived at the scene and his shirt did not have any bloodstain. “Anju madam, with folded hands, said, ‘please help us out’. Ashok took the kid in his arms and went with her.”
Kumar, according to the police, slit Pradhyumn’s throat in the washroom after a failed attempt to sexually assault the boy. He then allegedly rushed out and returned to the crime scene to help with taking the boy to hospital. It was Kumar who carried Pradhyumn in his arms to the car and then accompanied him to the hospital.
Harpal said he was detained around 2pm last Friday, around six hours after the murder, and allowed to go only around 1am. “Police asked me questions and I replied. But they beat men with sticks, slapped me and even put my head in a pool of water up to the bottom of the neck. Every time, they asked, ‘what did you see?’. They wanted to know if there was anyone else. I told them there was no one and that they could ask anyone about it. Finally, they let me go,” Harpal said.
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