As many as 17 accused in the Kumbakonam fire accident, which claimed the lives of 94 school children in 2004, have filed discharge petitions at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.
They wanted to be discharged from the trial, which was expected to commence at the Principal Sessions Court in Thanjavur on Friday. The petitioners included Pulavar Palanisamy, founder of the Sri Krishna Aided Primary School (where the fire broke out), his wife and school correspondent P Saraswathi, officials from the education department and the teachers.
However, Palanisamy’s daughter and school headmistress Santha Lakshmi and two noon meal scheme workers were yet to file the discharge petitions.
The Additional Superintendent of Police (Crime) of Thanjavur originally listed 24 persons as accused in the charge sheet filed before the Judicial Magistrate at Kumbakonam on July 6, 2005.
The case was subsequently transferred to the Principal Sessions Judge at Thanjavur.
On July 30, 2010, the trial court discharged three persons -- M Palanisamy, the then CEO of Thanjavur, S Paramasivan, the then Tahsildar of Kumbakonam and A Kannan, the then Director of Elementary Education.
The court dismissed the discharge petitions of all the other accused.
The current petitions filed at the HC were heard by Justice A Arumughaswamy on Wednesday.
After instructing the petitioners to submit relevant documents at the court to justify their discharge petitions, the judge adjourned the hearing to July 4, 2012.