The Supreme Court bench of Justice RK Agrawal and Justice AM Sapre on Monday dismissed the petition for the cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to Ryan International Group CEO Ryan Pinto and his parents Augustine and Grace Pinto, the chairman and managing director respectively of the group, in connection with student Pradyuman Thakur’s murder.
" In our considered opinion, without expressing anything on the merits of the case as the investigation is still under progress and the CBI is yet to come to a conclusion regarding the involvement of the private respondents in the crime, the private respondents herein have made out a case for grant of protection by way of interim bail till the presentation of Challan by the CBI as has been passed by learned single Judge. Therefore, the order passed by learned single Judge granting interim bail to the answering respondents till the presentation of Challan cannot be faulted with".
On September 8, when 7-year-old Pradyuman Thakur had succumbed to a slit in his throat, the injury having been inflicted within the Ryan International School premises in Gurugram, Haryana, a FIR was registered against the Pintos under Section 302 of IPC, Section 25 of the Arms Act, Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and Section 12 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Subsequently, in view of the Haryana government notification dated September 17 and DoPT notification dated September 22, the investigation in the matter was transferred to the CBI and the agency had registered a fresh, identical FIR on September 22.
By order dated October 7, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana had directed the Pinto family to join the CBI investigation and for them to be released on interim bail in case of their arrest. The present petitioner, Barun Chandra Thakur, father of Pradyuman Thakur, had challenged the said interim relief in an earlier special leave petition, wherein the Supreme Court had on November 6 refused to interfere with the relief and directed the high court to decide the grant of anticipatory bail expeditiously.
The high court, on November 21, considering that the CBI has not brought on record any evidence to associate the Pintos with any lapse or negligence on the part of the school management, that till date the Pinto family had not been called for interrogation and that the FIR lodged did not mention criminal conspiracy under section 120B of the IPC, had granted anticipatory bail to the Pinto family, subject to the conditions that they shall not leave the country pending the investigation and that they shall not tamper with any evidence or witnesses.
On Wednesday, the counsel for the petitioners submitted before the bench that there was a risk of the Pintos using their affluent and influential position to disrupt the CBI investigation by inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case. It was also contended that the manner in which the crime scene had been dressed and compromised, the involvement at some level of the managerial authorities could not be excluded. Further, the fact that the school authorities had failed to register a FIR in respect of the incident was also relied upon.