Kumbakonam fire tragedy: 13 years after 94 children died in fire, all culprits released

Representational image.

Chennai/Tamil Nadu, August 11:  The  sentence of 7 persons in the 2004 Kumbakonam fire incident that killed around 94 school children and altered the sentence bestowed to two others was suspended by The Madras High Court on Thursday.

The division bench which involved justices Sathyanarayanan and VM Velumani also diminished the sentence  in the case of the wife of the school founder, who passed away. It  constrained its orders on the petitions made by the accused and also by the state against the clearance of the blame, passed by a lower court in Madurai.

Around 21 accused were charged under the several sections of the India Penal Code in the tragedy.

On July 30, 2014, the trial court had discharged 11 of them and condemned the other 10, along with Pulavar Palaniswamy, who is the founder of Sri Krishna Matriculation School to life imprisonment and his wife Saraswathi to 5 years. When Saraswathi passed away during the period of appeal, the division bench subsided the charges against her.

The case involved the culprits which are Santhana Lakshmi, the school principal , Gajalakshmi, the meal organiser, engineer Jayachandran, district Educational Officer R Balaji, Personal Assistant Sivaprakasam, Supervisor Dhandavan and Assistant Durairaj.

It changed the life sentence awarded to Palaniswamy and altered the fine amount to Rs 1,16,500.

The Bench dismissed the appeal which was given by Vasanthi, the cook and was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonmentyby the trial court, and changed the sentence to one of the period previously undergone. It also focuses that the bail bonds were completed by the accused and would be terminated.

Around 94 children and a teacher lost their lives and 16 others were seriously injured when a destructive fire brushed off through the Sri Krishna School and Saraswathi Nursery School complex in Kumbakonam on July 16, 2004.