The controversy around Ryan International School refuses to die down after its student Pradyuman was found dead with his throat slit open in one of the washrooms of the Gurugram school. While the police arrested the bus conductor in the case and also interrogated the school gardener, parents of the seven-year-old boy believe that the school has destroyed evidence in the case.
The class 2 student's father Varun Thakur has now written to the Prime Minister's Office requesting an intervention in the matter. He accused the school of destroying evidence with the help of the staff and students and feared that reopening the school would give them an added chance of tampering with the remaining evidence.
"The case has been transferred to the CBI, but it has not taken charge from Gurugram police. Therefore, there is a great chance of destruction of evidence as the same teaching and non-teaching staff would attend the school," India Today quoted Thakur as saying.
The school reopened after 10 days on Monday, September 18, but not many students are said to have attended classes due to security concerns, after which the school was shut down for a week. "We reopened the school after 10 days on Monday, but as Pradyuman's family strongly objected to it, we decided to close the school to address their concern and also undertake other safety measures," Vinay Pratap Singh, deputy commissioner, Gurugram, added. The school will now reopen on September 25.
While Ryan International School has often made headlines for the wrong reasons – in May the principal of the school's Vasant Kunj branch was booked for negligence as a six-year-old student had drowned in the tank of the school in 2016 – questions are now also being raised about the founders and their business.
Ryan International Group and its business -- something amiss?
The Ryan International Group started with one primary school in Mumbai but has grown leaps and bounds in the last 40 years. It now has 135 schools in 18 states. These schools are operated through various trusts and societies that are controlled by the Pinto family and now questions are being raised on how the group may be illegally transferring crores of rupees received as fees to shell company accounts, India Today said in an exclusive report.
In books, the Ryan International Group has been lending a large amount of money to various firms and also investing its earnings in companies, but it is now suspected that the group has, in fact, been diverting these funds to companies owned by the Pinto family instead.
"If any school is run by trust or society, then this is a settled law that any income from that trust or society can be used for the objective of the trust or society," Company Secretary Ravi Bhushan Kumar told India Today.
"But, it appears from the balance sheets of these companies that the Pinto family has used them to divert funds from schools to their companies. It is a case of siphoning off funds from schools to business entities. A shell company means that company which is used for some hidden purpose and not for the objective for which it was formed.
"Here, the hidden purpose looks like transferring money from trusts or societies to business entities and, may be, finally, the money will (be transferred) into the pocket of trust owners."
While the schools have already been dragged into the limelight for various incidents and mishaps, the group could soon even comes under the IT scanner. The group's real estate business too reportedly seems a tad dicey. For instance, Ryan Properties Pvt Ltd received a huge advance of Rs 13 crore, but strangely hasn't done much business.
However, the description of the product or service reportedly says that the firm dealt with agricultural services. Kumar went on to explain that considering the income from agriculture is exempted from taxation, this could be the group's way of evading taxes. Ryan International Group hasn't commented on the matter yet.