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Friday, December 15, 2017

CBI is yet to examine and analyse the role of the private respondents in this case and there is no evidence of their complicity in the crime and there is not even a pointer of involvement of respondents herein in the alleged crime. Their involvement cannot be established until and unless, there is some substantial evidence against them. Learned single Judge, while granting interim bail to the private respondents till the presentation of Challan had laid down certain conditions which are as follows:- “As a result of my above discussion, I find merits in both the petitions and the same are allowed. Order dated 07.10.2017 granting interim bail to the petitioners is made absolute, till the presentation of Challan, subject to the following terms:- (i) that the petitioners shall make themselves available for interrogation by the investigating agency as and when required; (ii) that the petitioners shall not, directly or indirectly, make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the accusation against them so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court or to investigating agency; (iii) that the petitioners shall not leave India without the prior permission of the Court. (iv) that the petitioners will seek regular bail on the presentation of Challan in Court.” 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.

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 REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 2152-2153 OF 2017
(Arising out of
Special Leave Petition (Crl.) Nos. 9783-9784 OF 2017)
 Diary No. 38240 of 2017
Barun Chandra Thakur .... Appellant(s)
Versus
Central Bureau of Investigation and Others. .... Respondent(s)
O R D E R
R.K. Agrawal, J.
1) Leave granted.
2) The present appeal is directed against the judgment and
order dated 21.11.2017 passed by the High Court of Punjab &
Haryana at Chandigarh in Criminal Miscellaneous Nos.
M-35002 and 35003 of 2017 whereby learned single Judge of
the High Court had granted interim bail to Mr. Ryan Pinto, Dr.
Augustine Francis Pinto and Mrs. Grace Pinto-the top
management executive of the Ryan International School till the
presentation of challan subject to certain conditions.
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3) Brief facts:
(a) On 08.09.2017, the appellant herein dropped his son
Pradyumn Thakur, aged 7 years, and his daughter, Vidhi
Thakur to their School, viz., Ryan International School,
Bhondsi at 8:00 a.m. At 08:10 a.m., the appellant received a
phone call of his wife who asked him to immediately call Ms.
Anju Dudeja of the said School. When the appellant contacted
Ms. Anju Dudeja, she told him that his son had a cut on his
neck and is profusely bleeding. She asked him to reach
Badshahpur Hospital where he was being taken. The
appellant, along with his wife, left for Badshahpur Hospital
but on the way he received a call from Ms. Anju Dudeja that
they were taking the child to Artemis Hospital. On reaching
there, the appellant found that there was a cut on the right
side of his son’s neck up to the ear and his son was in
Emergency Ward. The Doctor informed the appellant that his
son Pradyumn had died.
(b) On receipt of the information, the police recorded a First
Information Report (FIR) being No. 250 of 2017 dated
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08.09.2017 at Police Station Bhondsi, Gurugram and arrested
one Ashok Kumar, son of Amichand, on the same day. The
State Government (Haryana), issued a Notification dated
17.09.2017, requesting the Central Bureau of Investigation
(CBI) to take up the investigation. The Ministry of Personnel,
Public Grievances and Pension (Department of Personnel and
Training) Government of India, New Delhi, vide Notification
dated 22.09.2017, transferred the investigation of the case to
the CBI which re-registered the FIR already registered by the
police authorities as case bearing No.
RC8(S)/2017/SC-III/New Delhi on 22.09.2017 itself which is a
reproduction of the FIR recorded by the police authorities at
Police Station Bhondsi, Gurugram.
(c) The private respondents, viz., Mr. Ryan Pinto, Dr.
Augustine Francis Pinto and Mrs. Grace Pinto approached the
Bombay High Court by filing Anticipatory Bail Application
being Nos. 1599 and 1608 of 2017 for grant of transit/
anticipatory bail. Learned single Judge of the High Court of
Judicature at Bombay, vide order dated 12.09.2017 in
Anticipatory Bail Application No. 1599 of 2017 granted interim
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stay from arrest of these persons and the matter was posted
for 13.09.2017. On coming to know about the filing of the
above anticipatory bail applications, the appellant herein
approached the High Court of Bombay by filing the
intervention application opposing the transit bail. Learned
single Judge of the High Court, vide order dated 14.09.2017,
rejected the anticipatory bail applications being Nos. 1599 and
1608 of 2017. However, the interim relief granted by the High
Court vide order dated 12.09.2017 was extended till 5:00 p.m.
of 15.09.2017 subject to certain conditions.
(d) It may be relevant to mention here that immediately on
the next date of the incident, that is, on 09.09.2017, a
Resolution was passed by the District Bar Association,
Gurugram condemning the brutal and dastardly act of the
accused unanimously resolving that no Member of the Bar
would appear/represent the accused before the Court or any
other Forum. A similar Resolution was passed by the District
Bar Association, Sohna.
(e) The private respondents approached the Punjab &
Haryana High Court on 15.09.2017 by filing CRM-M Nos.
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35002 and 35003 of 2017 for grant of interim bail. However,
the said petition was accepted by the Registry of the High
Court on 17.09.2017 and the copy of the said petition was
supplied to the office of learned Advocate General for the State
of Haryana on 18.09.2017. It appears that in the meantime,
Dr. Augustine Francis Pinto approached this Court by filing a
writ petition (criminal) being No. 139 of 2017 seeking transfer
of case from the Punjab & Haryana High Court to Delhi which
was taken up on 18.09.2017 and this Court disposed of the
writ petition while deprecating the practice of the Bar
Associations to pass a Resolution of this nature and also
recorded the fact that the Bar Associations have withdrawn
the Resolution.
(f) CRM-M Nos. 35002 and 35003 of 2017 for grant of
interim bail were taken up by the Punjab & Haryana High
Court but the effective order was passed only on 28.09.2017
staying the arrest of the private respondents till 07.10.2017
when the matter was directed to be listed. The appellant
approached this Court by filing a petition for Special Leave to
Appeal being Diary No. 30996 of 2017 which was taken up on
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13.10.2017 by this Court when learned counsel for the
appellant informed this Court that the appeal had become
infructuous.
(g) Learned single Judge of the High Court, vide judgment
and order dated 07.10.2017 in CRM-M Nos. 35002 and 35003
of 2017, considered the submissions made by the respective
parties including that of the appellant and while fixing the
cases for 05.12.2017 granted interim bail to the private
respondents with certain directions. The operative portion of
the order dated 07.10.2017 is reproduced below:-
“It is a case where a student of a school has been murdered.
After registration of the case, investigation with CBI is still at
initial stage. It is working on the theory of possibilities and
trying to analyse certain facts and evidence collected so far
in the matter. The petitioner are admittedly resident of
Mumbai. The question before the investigation agency is as
to whether the provisions of Section 75 of the JJ Act or 12 of
POCSO Act are attracted against the petitioner; whether the
child was in direct and actual control of petitioners; or they
have any other role in this case.
Keeping in view the facts discussed above, I find it
appropriate to give time to the investigation agency to
analyse the evidence before it, look into the role of
petitioners in this case and apprise this Court with further
progress in the investigation and evidence against petitioners
co9llected during investigation.
On behalf of Ryan Augustine Pinto, it has been argued
that he has no concern with the Trust running Ryan Schools
but a magazine of the Ryan International School, Bhondsi,
Gurugram shows that it has a message with his photograph,
when he is mentioned as CEO of Ryan International Group.
By joining the investigation, petitioner Ryan Augustine Pinto
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will be in a position to place required material before the CBI
regarding allegations against him that he is in management
of the school.
Consequently, petitioners in both the petitions are
directed to join the investigation by the CBI on receipt of
notice in this regard. In the event of their arrest being
required, they will be allowed interim bail in case bearing
FIR No. RC 8(S)/2017/SC-III/New Delhi dated 22.09.2017
for the offences punishable under Sections 302 read with
Section 34 IPC, Section 25 of the Arms Act, Section 75 of the
JJ Act and Section 12 of POCSO, Act, 2012 (earlier FIR No.
250 dated 08.09.2017 registered at Police Station Bhondsi,
Gurugram) till next date on their furnishing bonds to the
satisfaction of Investigation Agency. However, they shall
abide by the terms and conditions as envisaged under
Section 438(2)(i) to (iv) Cr.P.C. failing which they shall loose
the benefit of interim bail allowed to them.
Further report relating to investigation be submitted
on the next date.
List on 05.12.2017.”
(h) The appellant, once again approached this Court by filing
petition for Special Leave to Appeal (Criminal) being Nos.
8044-8045 of 2017 challenging the order dated 07.10.2017
passed by learned single Judge of the Punjab & Haryana High
Court. This Court, vide order dated 06.11.2017, disposed of
the special leave petitions by requesting the High Court to
dispose of the bail applications within a period of 10 (ten) days
hence. This Court was inclined to made such request as the
High Court had granted interim protection to the private
respondents under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal
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Procedure, 1973 (in short ‘the Code’) for a long period.
Pursuant to the order dated 06.11.2017 passed by this Court,
learned single Judge of the High Court, considered the matter
afresh and vide judgment and order dated 21.11.2017, made
absolute the interim bail granted on 07.10.2017 to the private
respondents till the presentation of the challan subject to
certain conditions.
4) We have heard learned counsel for the parties and
perused the records.
5) Learned counsel for the appellant contended that the
private respondents while approaching the High Court for
grant of interim bail/anticipatory bail have concealed and
suppressed the material facts. He further contended that the
respondents have also committed/indulged in fraud.
According to him, they ought to have approached the Sessions
Court, Gurugram, instead of directly approaching the High
Court when on 15.09.2017, the Resolution passed by the
District Bar Associations Gurugram and Sohna dated
09.09.2017 to the effect that no lawyer will represent the
accused in the instant matter, stood withdrawn. He further
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submitted that the private respondents have committed
heinous offence as would be clear from the averments made by
the CBI in the reply affidavit filed by it before the High Court.
A special reference was made to the following averments:-
“……The interrogation of the petitioner is very much
essential in the interest of investigation of the case and also
to unearth the larger conspiracy behind the murder of a
seven years old boy in his school. Any relief at this stage in
the form of anticipatory bail may hamper the course of
investigation of the case as there is every possibility that he
will misuse the liberty granted by this Hon’ble Court.
4(1) That the petitioners is not entitled to relief (s) as
prayed for. The petition is misconceived apart from being
meritless and hence deserves to be dismissed……”
“4(J)-(P) ….Prima facie it seems that the careless attitude of
the Management has aided to the murder of Master
Pradhyuman in the washroom of the school and accordingly
local police arrested two school officials namely Francis
Thomas and Jayesh Thomas in the instant case.
10. That the contention of petitioner at paragraph 10 of
the petition are opposed by the prosecution on the following
grounds:
i) That CBI has taken up the investigation of the
case and the investigation of this case is still
pending at crucial stage. Larger conspiracy
behind the murder of a seven year old boy is yet
to be unearthed.
iii) That the possibility of him being members of the
conspiracy behind the murder of Master
Pradhuman in the washroom of Ryan
International School, Sohna Road, Bhondsi,
Gurugram on 08.09.2017 and its abetment,
destruction of the evidence by him cannot be
ruled out as he is within the ambit of
investigation and he is to be dealt by the law at
par with other accused.
iv) That CBI has taken up the investigation of this
case on 22.09.2017, the records of the school
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management and those of the head office of
Ryan International Group of Institutions have
not been collected by CBI and the investigation
is at a preliminary stage.”
Learned counsel, thus, contended that even the CBI, on the
materials and possibilities of the involvement of the private
respondents, had opposed the plea of grant of interim
bail/anticipatory bail, and therefore, the High Court ought not
to have granted interim bail to them.
6) Learned senior counsel for the private respondents,
however, submitted that from a reading of the FIR registered
by the Police Station, Bhondsi, Gurugram, which was
re-registered by the CBI, there is no allegation against the
private respondents. Learned senior counsel further
submitted that even the CBI in the reply affidavit filed before
the High Court as also the documents produced before learned
single Judge at the time of hearing of the matter does not
show any involvement of the private respondents in the alleged
offence. He, thus, submitted that the order dated 21.11.2017
passed by learned single Judge does not call for any
interference.
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7) We have given our thoughtful consideration to the
various pleas raised by learned counsel for the parties.
8) In our considered opinion, the private respondents
cannot be held guilty of any suppression, concealment or
fraud in this matter for the simple reason that the petitions
were prepared on 15.09.2017 and accepted by the Registry of
the Punjab & Haryana High Court on 17.09.2017. The fact
relating to the withdrawal of the Resolution passed by the
District Bar Associations, Gurugram and Sohna cannot be
said to be in the knowledge of the private respondents.
Moreover, this plea had been dealt with by learned single
Judge in the order dated 07.10.2017 and had been negated.
9) Further, we cannot lose sight of the fact that this
incident had received wide coverage in the media, both
electronic and print. In fact, it can be said that there was a
trial by media, therefore, when the private respondents have
directly approached the High Court for grant of
anticipatory/interim bail under Section 438 of the Code, that
too when the High Court has concurrent jurisdiction, we
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cannot find any fault with the action of the private
respondents.
10) Coming to the merits of the case, on going through the
FIR registered by the Police Station, Bhondsi dated 08.09.2017
which admittedly has been re-registered by the CBI, we find
that no allegation has been made against the private
respondents herein. Learned single Judge of the High Court,
after considering the material and evidence on record as also
the material produced by the CBI before it has held as under:-
“14. From the submissions of learned retainer counsel for
CBI, it appears that against petitioners investigation of the
case and the evidence collected by investigating agency
stand at the same stage as it was on 07.10.2017. While
allowing interim relief to the petitioners on 28.09.2017, it
was ordered that if required, petitioners will be called and
joined in investigation of the case, however, till 07.10.2017,
they were never called to join the investigation. Vide order
dated 07.10.2017, petitioners in both the petitions were
directed to join the investigation on receipt of notice in this
regard and it has been fairly conceded that no notice calling
upon the petitioners to join investigation have been issued
till date.”
16. In para 9 of preliminary submissions, it has again been
submitted that here is possibility of petitioners being
member of conspiracy behind the crime in this case. In para
12 of the para-wise reply, it has been stated that CBI has yet
to examine and analyze the role of petitioners in this case.
Similar pleas have also been raised in the reply filed in
petition CRM-M-35002-2017.
17. The question, which arise for consideration at this stage
is as to whether CBI intends to arrest petitioner without any
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evidence of their complicity in the crime only on the basis of
possibilities and probabilities. The answer to this question
will be in negative. It is not disputed that in the
investigation conducted so far, there is not even a pointer of
involvement of petitioners in the crime in this case. Some
lapse or negligence on the part of school management or
even of the trustees or other office bearer of the school if
found at any point of time, may not be a pointer towards
their complicity in commission of murder of a school
student, until and unless there is some substantial evidence
of their involvement in this crime. While passing order dated
07.10.2017, it was observed that CBI “is working on the
theory of possibilities and trying to analyze certain facts and
evidence collected so far in the mater, as such, it will be
appropriate to give time to investigating agency to analyze
the evidence before it, look into the role of petitioners in this
case and apprise this Court with further progress in the
investigation and evidence against petitioners collected
during investigation. Till date, status of investigation
against the petitioners is at the same stage as it was on the
date of passing of order dated 07.10.2017. It is a case where
a seven years old student of the school was brutally
murdered in the school. It is not only an unfortunate
incident but also a gruesome and heinous crime and the
State Government thought it appropriate to hand over the
investigation of the case to CBI, a premier investigating
agency of the country. As admitted by learned counsel
representing CBI, petitioners have not ever been called for
joining the investigation and CBI has arrested a student of
the school as main accused for murder of Pradyumn and is
concentrating on his role in committing the crime. It has not
come on record that this crime with committed by the
conductor (Ashok), who was arrested by the police on the
day of occurrence or the student arrested by the CBI in this
case, in conspiracy with the petitioners or he had ever any
contact with them. Petitioners Dr. Augustine Francis Pinto
and Mrs. Grace Pinto (in CRM-M-35003-2017) are trustees
of Saint Xavier’s Education Trust, which is running several
school in the country. The status of petitioner Ryan
Augustine Pinto (in CM-M-35002-2017) with regard to the
management of the school in which crime was committed is
yet to be ascertained. It will also be a point of investigation
for the Investigating Agency as to whether the petitioners,
while living in Mumbai, are directly responsible for any lapse
of the Administration in the School.”
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11) Thus, as on date, the CBI is yet to examine and analyse
the role of the private respondents in this case and there is no
evidence of their complicity in the crime and there is not even
a pointer of involvement of respondents herein in the alleged
crime. Their involvement cannot be established until and
unless, there is some substantial evidence against them.
Learned single Judge, while granting interim bail to the private
respondents till the presentation of Challan had laid down
certain conditions which are as follows:-
“As a result of my above discussion, I find merits in both the
petitions and the same are allowed. Order dated 07.10.2017
granting interim bail to the petitioners is made absolute, till
the presentation of Challan, subject to the following terms:-
(i) that the petitioners shall make themselves
available for interrogation by the investigating
agency as and when required;
(ii) that the petitioners shall not, directly or
indirectly, make any inducement, threat or
promise to any person acquainted with the facts
of the accusation against them so as to dissuade
him from disclosing such facts to the Court or to
investigating agency;
(iii) that the petitioners shall not leave India without
the prior permission of the Court.
(iv) that the petitioners will seek regular bail on the
presentation of Challan in Court.” 
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12) 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.
13) In view of the foregoing discussion, we therefore, do not
find any good ground to interfere with the order dated
21.11.2017 passed by learned single Judge of the High Court.
The appeal is dismissed. However, the parties shall bear their
own costs.
………………….……………………J.
 (R.K. AGRAWAL)
.…....…………………………………J.
 (ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE)
NEW DELHI;
DECEMBER 11, 2017.