No Bail Yet For Ryan Bus Conductor, Family Returns Empty-handed

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Ashok Kumar was accused by the police of killing Ryan school student Pradyuman Thakur in Gurgaon.


New Delhi:  Ami Chand, 65, has just returned from the Gurgaon court with his grandson. They had hoped to bring his son, Ashok Kumar, home. But they will have to wait. The bus conductor of Gurgaon's Ryan International School, who had initially been accused of murdering of 7-year-old Pradyuman Thakur, was not allowed to go today. The court deferred the judgment on his bail plea.

Ami Chand said it is likely that he will get bail during the next hearing, on November 20.

Pradyuman was found with his throat slit outside the toilet of Ryan International School on September 8 minutes after his father dropped him to school. Within hours, the police arrested Ashok Kumar and said he has confessed to an attempted sexual assault and murder.

Ashok Kumar, who has been in jail since, applied for bail after the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is handling the case now, said he was falsely implicated. The agency has not opposed his bail. An investigation has been started against four officers of the Gurgaon police regarding the fabrication of charges against Mr Kumar.

"We are happy with the CBI's findings, but it has been two months and counting... Ashok was the only bread winner," said Ami Chand.

The family, which lives in a small house of the Dalit Colony of Ghamroj village, barely 7 km from Ashok's work place, is distraught. His wife has been ill and bed-ridden, his parents too old to work, his and children were at the mercy of the villagers.

"The village helped us. We had five mouths to feed and no one to earn. We knew since Day One that he was not at fault, but he was blamed for no reason," said Mr Kumar's mother Kela Devi.

Ashok Kumar's father recalled the conversation he had with his son inside the lockup. "I met Ashok two days after her was arrested. His hands and legs were swollen. He said the police had beaten him to extract confession. Even then he told me that he was innocent. But who would believe us?"

In the village, Mr Kumar is a popular man and all vouched for his innocence. "A man who never raised a hand on his own kids -- how could he murder some other child?" said his neighbour Om Prakash.

Mr Kumar's next door neighbor Hema said it was not just the Gurgaon police, but the school authorities also who are at fault. "Ashok was asked by the teacher to bring Pradyuman's body to the car. He followed orders. She asked him to wash his shirt. Why has the teacher been silent all this while?"

"I just want my husband to come home. Who are we to fight against the powerful police force? I just want him to come home, that's all," said his wife.


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