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Eleven days after Armaan Sehgal’s death, the management of GD Goenka Public School Indirapuram finally decided to reach out to the media and communicate their version of the incident that has left parents feeling indignant and helpless.
Chairman Ankur Malhotra; principal Kavita Sharma; director of finance and manager Joginder Singh Dua; and director Deepak Tuteja were present for the press meet. The entire media interaction was moderated by their lawyer, Akhand Pratap Singh.
However, only selected media houses were sent invites.
The chairman began the conference by expressing his sympathy for Armaan’s family. While both the directors remained silent on all questions, chairman Ankur Malhotra gave rehearsed answers for the expected queries.
For questions they weren't expecting, the stock reply was: "Let’s not make this conference a media trial room. The subject is sub-judiced, and we won't comment. We are here to put forward our side of the story ”
Taking no responsibility for the incident, the chairman went on to say that such situations and accidents were beyond the control of any school. He also maintained that the chairman and the principal were not on the school premises at the time of the accident.
When asked whether the school informed the police about the incident, he said: “We didn’t have a chance then, as we were busy saving the child. And by the time we realised the child is no more, the parents had already informed the police.”
The principal, for most of the interview, remained silent.
In her words, Sharma was informed of the incident when she was on her way to meet her doctor for a broken arm, and rushed immediately to Shanti Gopal Hospital upon receiving the news. She remained there with the parents till the body was sent for post-mortem. When asked about why the school did not communicate their condolences and stand by the family in solidarity, she said they were unable to attend the child’s funeral because an FIR had been lodged against the management and they were under certain legal restraints, she added.
But what about the rest of the staff — couldn’t they have communicated with anxious parents, asked City Spidey. The management, however, completely ignored the question.
When being further questioned about why they did not reveal the details of the CCTV footage for the day, the management said all the recordings for August 1, the day of the tragic incident, had been handed over to the police. However, the school maintained that there were no CCTV cameras in the area where the incident occurred.
“We didn’t feel the necessity to put a camera on that floor. But cameras can be installed there now, if parents suggest thus,” Malhotra justified.
On being asked why the school decided to remain shut for so many days, Malhotra said, “We could have been mobbed and other anti-social elements could have unnecessarily gotten involved with the whole thing. We have also asked for police protection.”
City Spidey asked why the management was feeling threatened since no harm had been done to school property or the staff so far. Both the chairman and principal stayed quiet.
At this point, the lawyer prompted the chairman to end the session. The management team walked out of the press conference, leaving several questions unanswered.
When the press asked for details of the five petitioners, the lawyer said he would give details later. But upon persisting, he revealed the names of four petitioners - Ankur Malhotra, Dr Kavita Sharma, Joginder Dua and Deepak Tuteja. For further details, he asked the media to contact him.
But he remained unavailable for details till the time of filing.
Allahabad High Court has issued a stay on the arrest warrant issued against the FIR until August 28.
TAGS: GD Goenka Indirapuram / Armaan / Armaan Sehgal / Death / Accident / School / Authorities / Parents / Press Conference / Principal / Chairman Ankur Malhotra / Kavita Sharma
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