There is more trouble brewing for Gurgaon police, already under fire for allegedly botching up the probe into Ryan International School student Pradhyumn Thakur’s September 8 murder.
The CBI on Monday called Gurgaon police’s special investigation team (SIT) – that investigated the killing and arrested school bus conductor Ashok Kumar – “for discussion or questioning”, not for negligence or callousness but because of suspicion that the botch-up was deliberate.
Two CBI teams were in the city on Monday. While one asked a Gurgaon police team deployed at the school not to enter while it visited the campus, the other team was in the city court, where four SIT members were called. The CBI officially refused to confirm their meeting with SIT members, but sources said the SIT officials were quizzed on how they missed several obvious clues.
It may be recalled that during its 10-day-long investigation, the SIT had claimed it had carried out a systematic probe, that included repeated reviews of CCTV footage and interrogation of over 100 people. Yet, the student who is now the prime accused was deemed a key witness by them. Since the CBI identified the Class 11 student as an accused last week, it has been trying to unravel how he managed to fool Gurgaon police.
Reliable sources claimed the four SIT members CBI had called for questioning on Monday included an ACP, an inspector, a sub-inspector and a lower-rank officer. The sources added they were called to match facts of the investigation. None of these officials responded to calls when this correspondent tried to contact them. The SIT probe was led by DCP (south) Ashok Bakshi.
“There were many clues which a cop won’t normally miss,” a CBI officer said on Monday. “We’re not alleging anything as yet, but we’re definitely curious about how investigating officials missed or misinterpreted these,” the officer added. CBI spokesperson R K Gaur said the hearing on the bail plea of Ashok Kumar is scheduled for November 16, and that they will respond to queries only after that.
Yet another procedural lapse has, meanwhile, come to the fore. In cases of heinous crimes, it’s an SHO-level officer who is supposed make the entry in official records. But in the Pradhyumn murder probe, a sub-inspector was asked to do this. He also happened to be the cop who arrested Kumar. While Gurgaon police is tightlipped about this, the issue has caught CBI’s attention.
A senior police officer said the commissioner has always advised an inspector-rank officer to record heinous crime, but a sub-inspector rank officer can lead a probe.