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HC grants a day's relief to the Pintos, adjourns hearing

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
By Philip Varghese

Ryan School Murder

Additional Public Prosecutor representing the Maharashtra government sought adjournment citing that the government has received the application copy of the transit bail only on Tuesday morning and that the Haryana government should be given notice, informing about this transit bail plea.

A day after Mumbai-based Ryan International Group's Chairman Augustine Pinto (73) and his wife Grace Pinto (62) – Managing Director of the Group along with their son Ryan Pinto – CEO of the Group filed for anticipatory transit bail before the Bombay High Court after the murder of eight-year-old son at Ryan International School in Gurgaon, the High Court on Tuesday granted a day's temporary relief to them and posted the matter for further hearing today.

This comes three days after 7-year-old Pradhyuman Thakur was murdered with his throat slit in the washroom of the Ryan International School in Gurgaon even as a bus conductor has been arrested for the murder which has sparked a nationwide outrage over the safety of children in schools.

During the hearing on Tuesday, advocate Manoj Dhall and advocate Gunratan Sadavarte  representing the Parents Group for Students Welfare and the Ambedkar Students Assocition argued against the bail pleas. “These trustees are very powerful and can tamper evidence as well as influence the witnesses. So they should not be granted bail,” the lawyers argued.

However, Additional Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai representing the Maharashtra government sought adjournment citing that the government has received the application copy of the transit bail only on Tuesday morning and that the Haryana government should be given a notice informing about this transit bail plea.

After hearing both sides, Justice A.S. Gadkari allowed the contentions of the Additional Public Prosecutor seeking adjournment and posted the matter for further hearing till Tuesday. The court granted temporary relief from arrest to the Pintos for a day.

In their bail plea, the Pintos have stated that the death of the student was unfortunate and that they cannot be held culpable and are themselves victims of the unfortunate circumstances. “This death has caused immense pain and grief not only to the family of the child, but also the management, trustees, staff and students of the school. Despite taking all necessary steps for security and well being of the students as required by law and prudence, if such an unfortunate incident occurs, the institution cannot be held culpable as it is itself a victim of unfortunate circumstances. We read newspaper reports which pointed out that the public outcry was for also booking the management for the killing of the child. Hence, we apprehend action against us in the matter. We seek the court to grant us transit protection from arrest so that we can approach the appropriate judicial authority in Haryana. We are residents of Mumbai and the overall management of the institution is being carried out from the Mumbai office. The day-to-day management of each school is taken care by the local staff appointed by the management. The trustees and the management were cooperating with the police to the best of their ability. While no outside person is allowed to enter the school premises, the bus drivers and the conductors, who have been given identity cards, are allowed to use basic amenities like toilets inside the school premises on humanitarian grounds. The culprit was identified based on the CCTV camera installed outside the entrance of the washroom of the school where the incident occurred,” the petition has claimed.

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