Pradyuman Thakur, a Class 2 student at Gurgaon's Ryan International school, was found killed in a washroom on the school premises at around 7 am on September 8. The school belonged to the Ryan International Group, a chain of educational institutions, founded by Augustine Pinto and Grace Pinto. Their son, Ryan Pinto, is the group's CEO.
The gruesome murder had created national outrage, forcing the Pintos - who have had history of changing political affiliations with shifting power equations in Mumbai and Delhi - to seek anticipatory bail. That happened after some senior officials of the Ryan Group of Institutions were arrested.
Ryan Pinto was widely criticized for being insensitive when he tried to portray his family as being victimised in the case. To add to the Pinto's problems, the CBI made a sensational claim: it informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court on October 7 that it had prima facie found that Ryan Pinto could possibly be involved in a conspiracy behind the murder of Pradyuman and its abetment, and in the destruction of evidence. The Haryana Police initially investigated the case and claimed to have cracked it by arresting a bus conductor who worked for the school. But many, including Pradyuman Thakur's parents, weren't ready to accept that the conductor was guilty. Increasing pressure forced the Haryana government to transfer the probe to the CBI.
And today, the CBI give a clean chit to the bus conductor. The agency found that a class XI student of Ryan International had killed Pradyuman. Until today, that student was one the Haryana Police's prime witnesses.
And why did the student - allegedly - kill Pradyuman? The CBI theory says he wanted to get exams postponed, and thought he could make that happen by murdering someone.
Now, whether the Haryana Police could not handle the pressure and claimed to crack the case in sheer desperation or whether there was something else behind it, can only be determined after further investigation. But while all this has happened, the Ryan International Group's owners - the Pintos - have filed multiple bail applications, and ultimately secured it.
Today's revelation will certainly give the Pintos a breather, especially on the charges of abetment and murder. But the destruction of evidence by the Pintos to cover up the crime and save their organization from infamy still can't be ruled out.
Here's a timeline that tracks what the Pintos have done in the weeks that followed the murder of Pradyuman Thakur.
BOMBAY HIGH COURT
September 11: Augustine, Grace and Ryan Pinto move the Bombay High Court seeking transit anticipatory bail: they seek protection from arrest until they approach the concerned court (The Punjab and Haryana High Court in this case) to file their regular anticipatory bail pleas.
September 12: The Bombay High Court grants Augustine Pinto and Grace Pinto protection from arrest till September 13. Ryan Pinto's plea isn't listed.
September 13: Pradyuman's father moves the Bombay High Court seeking to oppose the Pintos' anticipatory bail plea. The court extends the stay on arrest till September 14, as the required submissions couldn't be made.
September 14: The Bombay High Court rejects the plea of Ryan Pinto and his parents for the transit pre-arrest bail, but grants them protection from arrest till September 15 - to enable them to file plea in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 16.
PUNJAB & HARYANA HIGH COURT
September 16: Ryan Pinto and his parents approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking anticipatory bail.
September 20: The court issues a notice to the Haryana Police, seeking its response on the plea.
September 22: CBI takes over the investigation in the murder case.
September 25: The Punjab and Haryana High Court makes the CBI a party in the Pintos' petition.
September 28: The High Court stays the arrest of the three Ryan trustees till October 7.
October 7: The court grants the Pinto family anticipatory bail till December 5
PRADYUMAN THAKUR'S FATHER MOVES THE SUPREME COURT
October 3: Pradyuman's father moves the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of the Pintos' anticipatory bail.
October 13: The Supreme Court issues a notice to the Pintos and the CBI
November 6: While granting interim bail to the Pintos, the apex court asks the Punjab and Haryana High Court to decide on the matter in 10 days (by November 16).