In a dramatic twist to the murder of a Class 2 student of Ryan International School in Gurugram, the CBI on Wednesday said the crime was committed by a 16-year-old student of the school who wanted to delay upcoming exams. The revelation derailed Haryana Police's claim that a school bus conductor, in jail since then, was the killer.
A court in Gurugram in Haryana on Wednesday evening sent the Class 11 student, whose name is being withheld, to three days in CBI custody after declaring him a juvenile.
CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said the student was detained on Tuesday night as the prime suspect in the gory September 8 murder of Pradhuman Thakur that had earlier led to the arrest of the conductor who Haryana Police insisted had committed the murder.
The CBI said the fresh development came after "inspection of the crime spot, scrutiny of CCTV footage, call records, statements and questioning of several people" that revealed the suspect had carried a knife to the school on that day and used it to kill his junior school mate.
"The weapon used in the commission of the crime is a knife which was recovered initially by police in Gurugram. It is now with us," Dayal told reporters here.
Dayal said the detained student was weak in studies and "wanted to have examinations and a Parent-Teacher Meeting postponed". Pradhuman, 7, was his random target. And after the killing, the school was shut down for days.
The officer said the prime suspect was interrogated mainly on the basis of CCTV footage, which showed him coming out of the school toilet where Pradhuman's body was found with his throat slit -- a crime that generated shock and revulsion.
The father of the Class 11 student said his son was being framed.
He said his son was taken in for questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) a day earlier. "The CBI told me that my son was being held because he had murdered Pradhuman," he told the media in Gurugram.
"We have been cooperating with the police from day one. The CBI questioned him repeatedly and we cooperated," he said. He underlined that it was his son who had alerted the school about the killing.
The Haryana Police had earlier claimed that Pradhuman was killed by conductor Ashok Kumar inside the toilet as the boy resisted a bid to sodomise him.
While Ashok Kumar was arrested, Pradhuman's parents and two other staffers have maintained that the conductor was being made a scapegoat and that someone else committed the crime.
Stung by the development, Gurugram Commissioner of Police Sandeep Khirwar said his force would cooperate with the CBI. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the police probe was not complete when the CBI took over the case on September 22, nearly two weeks after the Class 2 boy was found dead.
"There was nothing wrong in our investigation," added Haryana Director General of Police B.S. Sandhu.
The accused was produced before the Juvenile Justice Board in Gurugram that decided to treat him as minor as per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and sent him to three days of CBI custody as requested by the agency.
The CBI wanted his custody to know about the murder weapon, the planning of the crime and the motive.