Ryan murder investigation: Mystery over missing footprints on blood

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Ryan murder investigation: Mystery over missing footprints on blood

Ryan murder witness version on crime scene and nature of stains on conductor's clothes raises questions on police theory.

The gruesome yet seemingly open-and shut case of a seven-year-old boy's murder at the Ryan International School in Gurugram is becoming murkier by the day. A witness on Tuesday cast doubts on the police's claim that bus conductor Ashok Kumar, who has been arrested, is the killer.

Subhash Garg told the media that the accused had very little spatter on him despite the grisly nature of the crime and there were no footprints in the blood that had covered the floor of the toilet where the crime purportedly took place. "There was chaos inside the main building and reception area after it was building and reception area after it was learnt that a student with his throat slit collapsed in the corridor. I saw two supporting staffers of the school carrying Pradyuman in their arms. They put him inside a WagonR car and the principal withdrew cash from the office and took him away to the hospital," said Garg, who was at the reception of the school on Friday to deposit the fees of his younger son.

"There were bloodstains on Kumar's shirt which may be due to the fact that he was carrying the boy." Garg also claimed that the conductor was behaving normally, which is unusual for someone who committed such a crime. School bus driver Saurabh Raghav too has alleged that Kumar was being made a scapegoat. Ranked one of the top educational institutions in the country, Ryan International runs nearly 150 schools across India and in the United Arab Emirates.

The school was caught in another row last year after a six-year-old student was found dead in a water tank at its Vasant Kunj branch. The principal, a teacher and a few others were arrested for negligence.

"I had told Kumar not to clean up his shirt until the police came. I later saw him on TV as the accused and realised that he was a bus conductor of the school and his name is Ashok Kumar," Garg said. "He did not have any fear or any kind of anxiety on his face. He was behaving normally. After sometime, I saw that Kumar had cleaned his shirt. I asked him why he had done that. He replied that the smell of blood was unbearable."

He added that the conductor had not washed his trousers and they were not wet. "I went to the crime scene where blood had spread all over the toilet and its walls. Besides, drops of blood were also found leading away from the toilet to the corridor probably because Pradyuman tried to escape from the crime scene with his throat slit. The toilet was not spacious enough to accommodate two people. Moreover, there were no footmarks inside," Garg said.

"I asked the school staff to barricade the corridor with benches on both sides and lock the main door." Police had said Kumar was waiting inside the toilet and as soon as Pradyuman entered, the accused held the boy hostage and tried to sodomise him. As the child resisted, the conductor slit his throat and dumped him in a corner of the restroom. He then washed his hands and the knife. In the meantime, Pradyuman managed to run out to the corridor and collapsed there. Kumar chased the boy but on being witnessed tried to act innocent. He picked up the victim and took him to the WagonR car of acting principal Neerja Batra.

However, the deceased's family have refused to accept the police theory and demanded a CBI probe. The doctor who conducted the autopsy said the boy was not sexually assaulted and died of excessive bleeding. While forensic experts scanned the crime scene on Tuesday, the accused has been sent in judicial custody till September 17. "There must be something in the background of this incident which may be Pradyuman saw one or two days earlier," said Pradeep Kumar, the boy's uncle. "The killer must have thought Pradyuman would spill his secrets and wanted to silence him."

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