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21 Oct 2021, Edition - 2291, Thursday

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Coimbatore

Kumbakonam school fire tragedy: Former municipal engineer absconding for two years surrenders

Covai Post Network

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Thanjavur: Former engineer of Kumbakonam municipality who had been absconding for two years after being convicted in the infamous school fire tragedy surrendered before the principal and district sessions court here on Thursday.

At least 94 students perished in the fire that broke out at Sri Krishna aided primary school at Kasiraman Street in Kumbakonam on July 14, 2004. Twenty one persons including Palanisamy, founder of the school, and some senior officials of education department were arrested.

Almost after a decade of this infamous fire mishap, on July 30, 2014, the principal and district sessions court in Thanjavur convicted 10 persons including Palanisamy.

The court found Palanisamy guilty under section 457 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.) of the IPC read with 197 and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The court also slapped a fine of Rs. 51.65 lakh on him. The court, however, acquitted 11 of the total 21 accused in the case. The acquitted include three school teachers and eight government officials.

The court also convicted Jayachandran, resident of Udayar Chetti Street, Salem, and sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment for issuing stability certificate to the ill-fated school while he was serving as engineer in Kumbakonam municipality. The court also fined him Rs. 50,000.

The court ordered that the period already undergone by the accused during the court of trial should be set off and they should complete the remaining period of the sentence.

Jayachandran who was sentenced to two years went absconding soon after the court pronounced its verdict in the case on July 30, 2014. Police had been looking out for him for the last two years. Meanwhile, Jayachandran, who is now 73 years of age, voluntarily surrendered before the principal and district sessions court in Thanjavur.

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