| The Scindia School, Gwalior |
Patna/Bhopal, Aug. 24: Preliminary police investigation suggests the 14-year-old son of cooperative minister Jai Kumar Singh was battling for life in a Delhi hospital because of harassment at the hands of his school seniors.
The situation had allegedly come to such a pass that the Class IX student of The Scindia School, Gwalior, was not allowed to have his meal. “The fact came to the fore during the interrogation of the boy’s cousin, a student of the same institution,” said the additional city superintendent of police of Gwalior, Mohammad Yusuf Qureshi.
The officer heading the investigation team told The Telegraph over phone today: “We have gathered circumstantial evidence and recorded the statement of the boy’s cousin (also a Class IX student), classmates, senior students and some employees of the school, which hinted at he (victim) being harassed by some seniors.” The officer, accompanied by a team of forensic experts visited the school — ranked third in the country — on Saturday afternoon and gathered evidence.
A source said three seniors, including the wards of a Member of Parliament and a judicial officer, were allegedly involved in harassing the boy. “We are waiting for the team sent to Delhi to contact the boy’s parents and relatives and record their statements. We shall arrive at a conclusion soon,” Gwalior senior superintendent of police Santosh Kumar Singh said, adding that no FIR had been lodged so far.
The police are investigating if a smart phone smuggled into a dormitory led The Scindia School seniors to bully the Bihar minister’s son. An officer said on the condition of anonymity that the boy had smuggled a smart phone into his hostel, Mahadji House, against the school norms and uploaded his Facebook profile with it.
They added that the three seniors had been “punishing” him for this for a fortnight, forcing him to repeatedly adopt a stress position called “murga”, beating him, and forcing him to sweep the floor.
The Scindia School management today issued a statement expressing grief and shock over the incident. “The cause of the incident is being investigated by a special committee set up by the school and appropriate action will be taken following the findings in the matter,” the school management statement said.
District magistrate P. Narhari has constituted a five-member committee to probe into the matter. He said: “The panel headed by sub-divisional officer Suchismita Saxena is on the job.”
A member of the committee, on the condition of anonymity, said the institution’s officials admitted that the victim had complained about physical harassment by some seniors for the past few days. “But he had not disclosed the names of his tormentors,” the member quoted an official of the institution as saying.
The probe team quizzed the institute’s principal, Samik Ghosh, vice-principal Shalini Mehrotra and the wardens of Mahadji House and Shivaji House. While the victim was lodged in Mahadji House, his cousin stays in Shivaji House.
Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today talked to his cabinet colleague Jai Kumar Singh over phone and enquired about the condition of his son. “The chief minister also tried to talk to his Madhya Pradesh counterpart but he could not be contacted as the latter was travelling by air. Thereafter, he left a message for him,” an official press note said.
The note also quoted the chief minister’s reply to a question regarding the involvement of three students, including a BJP MP’s ward, in the incident. Manjhi said: “Such incidents should not be seen through party lines. It has nothing to do with the JDU and the BJP.”¯