The petition by Parents' Association, demanding CBI inquiry and other steps for children’s security, may come up for hearing on Wednesday.

Even as Jharkhand Director General of Police D K Pandey on Monday visited Sapphire International School (SIS) in Ranchi in connection to the death of Binay Mahato, a Class VII student in the early hours of February 5, the police continued to maintain that they were yet to arrive at a conclusion about the cause of death in the case. Meanwhile, demand for ‘justice to Binay’ grew in the city with the parents’ association filing a PIL in the Jharkhand High Court. The petition, demanding CBI inquiry and other steps for children’s security, may come up for hearing on Wednesday. Several other organisations and students from different schools have been holding protests and candle march demanding justice for the 12-year-old boy. The local BJP MLA from Hatia, Naveen Jaiswal, had to beat retreat at Chanda Ghasi village, where Binay’s parents are currently staying. Pandey visited the School during the day, along with Inspector General (Ranchi Zone) and other senior officials. He also inspected the spot where Binay’s body was found. “We are working on all aspects. Men and officials from the local police, special branch and CID have been involved. We are hoping to get to the bottom of the case soon,” Pandey told reporters after his visit. He added that the police should not be bound by time factor.

Ranchi Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Dwivedi, who is monitoring the investigations, said: “we are still working on all possibilities. At least 10 teams have been constituted. The teachers are still being questioned. As of now, we are neither in a position to confirm or deny that it was a case of murder or something else.” However, police sources claimed that the evidence so far indicated that there was strong possibility of the case being that of murder. “Not all instances of a fall from height are cases of suicide. We have discussed this possibility with the medical and forensic experts. We are not in a position to share these details, but there is evidence to suggest that somebody was involved,” said an officer associated with investigations. Binay was found dead in the early hours of February 5 in the teachers’ flats area. He had left the boys’ hostel, where he used to stay beyond midnight. His body was found in the teachers’ flats area, located over 700 metres from his hostel.

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Ranchi: ‘Teacher’s son killed 12-yr-old, family covered it up’

The victim, identified as Binay Mahato, died after he was allegedly beaten up by the teacher’s 16-year-old son, a Class XI student.

A schoolteacher, her husband and two minor children were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly killing a 12-year-old student of the Sapphire International School (SIS), under Tupudana police station area in Ranchi, in the early hours of February 5. According to the police, the teacher, who also works at SIS, objected to the victim’s friendship with her minor daughter.

The victim, identified as Binay Mahato, died after he was allegedly beaten up by the teacher’s 16-year-old son, a Class XI student. The teacher and her son are alleged to have pushed an injured Mahato from the first floor. He was found unconscious on the ground floor, and died on the way to hospital.

According to the police, on February 4, the accused boy met Mahato, who lived in the school hostel, at the basketball court and invited him home. The teacher and her family live on the first floor of the staff quarters at the school.

“The accused boy asked Binay to come home at around 1 am as his mother was to prepare some delicacy, and he said he would keep some for him. He told him that his sister would also be present,” said Ranchi SSP Kuldeep Dwivedi, while retracing the sequence of events at a press conference here.
The hostel gates were reportedly open as the staff were busy with the annual day preparations.

Mahato is said to have left the hostel at around 1 am. “He has been caught on CCTV camera leaving the hostel. From another camera, we realised that he had abandoned the normal route, where barricades and guards were likely to be present. He took a detour from behind the principal’s house and went to the teachers’ quarters,” said Dwivedi.

“The teacher’s son answered the door. He took him to the dining area, where he raked up the issue of Binay’s friendship with his younger sister. He told Binay that he should stay away… Binay argued with him. The accused then gagged him with his hand and punched him a few times in the stomach, before repeatedly banging his head against the wall,” claimed Dwivedi.

Hearing the commotion, the teacher and her daughter, who were asleep, reportedly woke up and saw Mahato lying unconscious on the floor. “They tried to wash off the bloodstains, but were not sure what to do with Binay. They dragged him across the corridor and pushed him down from from the first floor. At around 1:38 am, a teacher who lives on the ground floor spotted the unconscious boy,” said the SSP.

According to the police, while Mahato was unconscious, the accused called up his father, who teaches at another international school in Ranchi and lives there. The father reportedly advised him to be careful and remove all possible evidence.

“While the injuries were inflicted by the accused boy, the teacher and her husband were aware of Binay’s friendship with their daughter. They had taken up the issue with Binay a couple of times, but the two continued to remain friends. The family was very angry about this. All the family members were involved in covering up the incident,” claimed Dwivedi.

All the accused have been charged under Sections 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 34 (furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Initially, the police suspected the role of three teachers, who shared an apartment on the ground floor. The teacher who spotted Mahato was also among the suspects.

“The body was found outside their aparment and we recovered some things from their room which made us suspect their involvement, including the possibility of sexual abuse. However, the post-mortem report ruled that out. But, we still kept questioning them,” said Dwivedi.

According to the police, the breakthrough came when they examined the audio clips recorded on an Android-phone camera installed on the first floor. “The school has installed CCTV cameras in most places. Where they do not have CCTV, they have installed Android phones with cameras. However, these cannot record visuals at night. But it was the audio recording on that phone, at around the time of the incident, which made us suspect that somebody on the first floor could be involved,” said ASP (Hatia) Prashant Anand.

The audio clipping had sounds of something being cleaned, a grill gate being opened, and something falling with a thud, he added.

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