Five days after the gruesome murder of a seven-year-old Gurugram schoolboy, Special Investigation Teams on Wednesday searched the Ryan International School for clues to the crime while a Central Bureau of Secondary Education panel also inspected the premises to examine loopholes in security arrangements.
The Gurugram Police's SIT probing the crime also took samples of fingerprints and shoes at the crime scene, including the toilet, a day after recreating the sequence of events there.
The SIT clicked photos and shot videos of the suspected places to examine the nature of the crime again.
"The SIT does not want to spare a single piece of evidence which can be important and work as a key breakthrough for us to solve this case. With three days left for the submission of charge sheet in court, we have got possible positive leads against the accused school bus conductor Ashok Kumar," a senior SIT officer said.
The five-member CBSE team headed by D Arun Kumar, Deputy Director, Central Board of Secondary Education (Security), inspected every corner of the school in Bhondsi, Gurgaon to examine the security loopholes inside the school, clicked photographs and videographed the lapses found.
The team reached the school at around 10 am and inspected the school till 1 pm however it ignored the media glare.
Sources said the CBSE team will submit its report to the human resource development ministry on Class 2 student Pradyumna Thakur's murder inside the school toilet on September 8.
With just three days left for the SIT to submit its final chargesheet before the Sohna court on Saturday, four SIT teams also reached the school for forensic analysis and FSL samples.
"We have sent Kumar's blood samples, his clothes and garment samples for DNA test and forensic examination at the Forensic Laboratory in Madhuban at Karnal. His potency test was also conducted for legal reasons," the SIT officer said.
Two students whose statements were recorded as eyewitnesses before a duty magistrate in the Sohna court, have been given police protection outside their homes, he said.
The officer added besides this, parallel questioning of all suspects who are on the police radar whether it is the suspended school principal, senior management officials, or staff members, is being conducted.
"Some more arrests are likely to be made," he said.
Meanwhile, Pradyumna's classmate, who was told by a schoolteacher to clean the victim's blood-soaked bag and bottle, remains traumatised.
The Class 2 student is still in trauma and does not want to go school, saying "I do not wish to go to school as someone murdered Pradyumna. I used to play with him in school. Someone will also slit my throat, now I am afraid".
School gardener Harpal Singh is also a key eyewitness in the incident.
He said he was working on the flowers when he heard a commotion as two children who went to change their taekwondo dress in the toilet, found the mortally wounded Pradyumna lying in a pool of blood, and raised an alarm.
"Ashok Kumar carried Pradyumna and placed him in the rear seat of the car which was driven to hospital by a school bus driver, while suspended Principal Neerja Batra headed to hospital in her personal car," Singh said.
"I did not see any suspicious activities of Ashok Kumar and he was behaving normally although his shirt was also soaked in blood as he carried Pradhuman. He was very simple. I do not know if he killed Pradyumna, which is what the police is claiming, it is a matter of investigation," he said.
The school remained closed for students today while its two branches in Noida and NCR were opened where some parents protested and raised question marks over students' security.
They demanded the school management install more CCTV cameras to keep every corner of the schools under watch.
HC extends anticipatory bail of school trustees
The Bombay high court on Wednesday extended the interim protection from arrest granted to the trustees of Ryan International Group till Thursday, even as Pradymna's father sought to oppose their anticipatory bail pleas.
The high court directed the boy's father Varun Thakur to give the trustees a copy of his intervening application opposing their pre-arrest bail petitions.
Thakur on Wednesday filed an intervening application opposing the anticipatory bail pleas filed by the group's CEO, Ryan Pinto, and his parents -- Augustine Pinto, the founding chairman of the group, and Grace, its managing director.
The Pintos, who sought protection from arrest till they have approached the court concerned in Haryana, were on Tuesday granted interim protection from arrest till Wednesday.
Thakur's lawyer Sushil Tekriwal informed Justice Ajey Gadkari of his client's intervening application following which the court directed him to give a copy of it to the Pintos' counsel Niteen Pradhan.
"Until and unless you (Thakur) give a copy of the application to the applicants (Pintos), how do you expect them to respond? I will hear the pleas tomorrow. Interim relief to continue till then," Justice Gadkari said.
When Tekriwal started arguing the matter by mentioning the details of the killing, Justice Gadkari said he cannot hear the matter on merit as his court does not have the territorial jurisdiction.
"This is only a plea for transit bail. I cannot hear the matter on merits," the judge said.
In the application, Thakur said he is the complainant in the case and the petition of the trustees is "opposed in strongest possible terms and words as the instant case being a rarest of the rare case where a brutal, diabolical, cold blooded, barbarous, demonic, unpardonable, unprovoked, hellish, cruel homicide has taken place on the campus of Ryan International School."
Thakur alleged in his application that the school's trustees were 'vicariously responsible, liable, accountable, answerable for the culpability and guilt for which the bail application should be dismissed in limine (at the threshold)'.
'The remorseless, spineless and senseless approach and attitude of the school management, its directors/CEO and other top notch executives in this rarest case is absolutely inexcusable and hence, the present bail application deserves to be dismissed in toto,' said the application.
Thakur said he was shocked by the trustees' statement that they are not part of the crime as they do not look after the day-to-day working of each school.
If the top management of the school can share in the 'plunder and prosperity', why should it not face the rule of law because of vicarious liability, the petition said.
He alleged in his petition that it appeared 'Pradyumna was meticulously murdered with foolproof planning and conspiracy, otherwise how a conductor sneaked inside with a brand new knife, slitting the throat in a surgically expert manner'.
Thakur said the way the conductor took the child to the hospital and confessed to killing him 'immediately' raised doubt which can be cleared during the custodial interrogation of people in the school management.
Thakur also said evidence like blood stains on the floor and clothes were wiped out.
The Pintos, in their pleas, said while the death of the boy was unfortunate, the management cannot be held culpable and that they themselves were victims of 'unfortunate' circumstances.