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Pradhuman Thakur murder case: Ryan International school trustees to remain on bail, rules SC

The top court said the involvement of Ryan Pinto, Grace Pinto and Augustine Francis Pinto, the three top trustees of school, in the crime cannot be established until and unless there was some substantial evidence against them.

Reported by: PTI, New Delhi [ Updated: December 11, 2017 19:02 IST ]
File pic - Police officials outside Ryan International
File pic - Police officials outside Ryan International School in Gurugram

Three top management executives of Ryan International Group will continue to remain out on anticipatory bail, with the Supreme Court today refusing to cancel their relief in a case relating to the killing of a 7-year old student in its Gurgaon school premises.

The top court said the involvement of Ryan Pinto, Grace Pinto and Augustine Francis Pinto, the three top trustees of school, in the crime cannot be established until and unless there was some substantial evidence against them.

A bench of Justices R K Agrawal and Abhay M Sapre said it does not find any good ground to interfere with the November 21 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Pradhuman, a Class II student, was found with his throat slit in the school washroom in Gurgaon on September 8. School bus conductor Ashok Kumar was earlier arrested by Haryana Police in connection with the crime. He was recently granted bail by a lower court.

The case was transferred to the CBI and the agency had apprehended a class 11 student in connection with the killing.

In the considered opinion of the court, the CBI is yet to come to a conclusion regarding the involvement of the Pintos' in the crime and they have made out a case for grant of protection by way of interim bail till the charge sheet is filed, the top court said.

"Therefore, the order passed by single judge granting interim bail to the answering respondents till the presentation of challan cannot be faulted with," it said. 

The bench said that as on date, the CBI was yet to examine and analyse the role of the Pinto's in the case and "there is no evidence of their complicity in the crime and there is not even a pointer of involvement of respondents herein in the alleged crime".

"Their involvement cannot be established until and unless there is some substantial evidence against them," it said.

It noted that, in the FIR registered by the police and later by CBI, there was no allegations against the Pintos or their involvement in the incident which had received widely coverage in the media.

The bench observed "it can be said that there was a trial by media" in the incident and there was no fault with the move of the Pinto's in directly approaching the high court and not the sessions court, for grant of anticipatory bail as it has concurrent jurisdiction.

"In our considered opinion, the private respondents (Pintos) cannot be held guilty of any suppression, concealment or fraud in this matter for the simple reason that the petitions were prepared on September 15 and accepted by the Registry of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 17," the bench said.

It rejected the contention of petitioner Barun Thakur, father of the victim child, that the Pintos had indulged in fraud by directly approaching the high court and not sessions court for interim bail as the resolution passed by the District Bar Associations, Gurgaon and Sohna on September 9 that no lawyer will represent the accused in the instant matter, stood withdrawn.

Advocate Sandeep Kapur, appearing for the Pintos had contended that from a reading of the FIR registered by the Police Station, Bhondsi Gurgaon, which was re-registered by the CBI, there is no allegation against them. 

He had submitted that the November 21 order, passed by the single judge, does not call for any interference.

Advocate Sushil Tekriwal, appearing for Thakur, had said the Pintos while approaching the high court for grant of interim bail had concealed and suppressed material facts.

Tekriwal had contended that even the CBI had opposed the plea of grant of interim bail, and therefore, the high court ought not to have granted interim bail to them.

The high court had on November 21 granted anticipatory bail to Ryan International Group CEO Ryan Pinto and his parents -- founding chairman Augustine Pinto and managing director Grace Pinto, in connection with the killing of seven-year-old Pradhuman Thakur.

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