After carrying the child to the car, he came back and washed his blood-drenched shirt. "He said the blood 'disgusted' him," said Subhash Garg, who was present at the school on Friday when Pradyuman was found inside the toilet, his throat slit.
Police said the bus conductor had been seen in the toilet by two students just before Pradyuman was found. The police also say he had confessed to the murder after they zeroed in on him and started questioning.
According the police, Ashok had tried to sexually assault the boy and slashed him on the throat twice with a knife when he offered resistance. The postmortem report said the boy died within two minutes from the blood loss. He had been unable to call for help even.
Ashok's colleague, school bus driver Saurabh Raghav, however, claimed he had been made a scapegoat. The parents of the murdered boy also have expressed doubs about man's guilt. Pointing to discrepancies in the version of events given by the police, Pradyuman's father Varun Thakur has demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Mr Garg told NDTV that Ashok was not the only driver at the spot. "At least a dozen conductors and drivers were all present inside the school premises, since the buses had just parked in," he said.
The school did not have a separate toilet for support staff like drivers or conductors and the students were forced to share the facilities with them. This was one of the lapses pointed out by a Special Investigation team, which had presented a list to the state government a few days ago. Two school officials have been arrested since.