HC orders CBI investigation into murder of Sapphire International School student

Court of Justice Sanjay Dwivedi on Thursday ordered a CBI investigation into the murder of Binay Kumar Mahto who was murdered on the campus of his school, Sapphire International School, on the night of February 4-5, 2016.

The court ordered the CBI to complete the investigation within the next eight months. The judgment was a big victory for Binay Mahto’s family, with his father Manbahal Mahto fighting a legal battle from 2018 to have the case investigated by the CBI.

“My 12-year-old son was in seventh grade. I had admitted my son to boarding school so that he would receive a good education. But the school administration killed my son. They are powerful so they manage everything. But I decided not to back down but to fight until my son gets justice. Today the court ordered the CBI investigation,” Manbahal said.

Police concluded it was a revenge killing and arrested Hindi teacher Nazia Hussain, her husband Arif Ali Ansari and their two teenage boys for murder. Police claimed that Binay had a crush on the daughter of Nazia Hussain and Arif Ali who was a class VI student.

Police say their son called the deceased at his school residence and hit Binay with brass knuckles. His sister and parents were accused of helping him and hiding evidence. As both were minors, their cases were transferred to the Juvenile Justice Council. They were later acquitted due to lack of evidence. The parents also got bail. The Ranchi police could not bring any conclusive evidence against them.

The family doubted the police had an ulterior motive behind a shoddy investigation. A PIL has also been filed by the Parents’ Association requesting a CBI investigation. Manbahal Mahto approached the Jharkhand High Court in 2018 and later knocked on the Supreme Court’s door asking for direction for the CBI investigation. The Supreme Court ordered him to exhaust his options in the High Court first.

During the hearing, the High Court was persuaded by the concerns and objections raised by the deceased’s father about the police investigation. Lawyer Jitendra S Singh and Randhir Kumar appearing on behalf of Manbahal Mahto explained how the police botched and derailed the investigation. The forensic evidence produced by the police did not support the police theory.

Martha K. Merrill