CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has suspended the conviction and sentence awarded to seven accused in the Kumbakonam fire accident case, in which 94 children were charred to death in 2004.
A division bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and V M Velumani also modified the sentence in respect of two other convicts and abated the sentence against one convict who had died.
In all, there were 21 accused charged for offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code in connection with the tragic incident. Of them, the trial court had acquitted 11 and convicted and sentenced the remaining 10, including Pulavar Palanisamy, founder of Sri Krishna Matriculation School. He was awarded life imprisonment and his wife Saraswathi five years’ jail term.
As Sarawathi died during the pendency of the appeal, the bench abated the charges against her.
The bench also set aside the conviction and sentence awarded by the lower court to Santhana Lakshmi, Principal, Gajalakshmi, noon meal organiser, Jayachandran, engineer, R Balaji, District Educational Officer, Sivaprakasam, personal assistant, Dhandavan, supervisor, and Durairaj, DPE assistant.
The bench modified the life sentence awarded to Palanisamy to one of period already undergone during investigation, trial and post conviction and modified the fine amount as Rs 1,16,500.
The bench dismissed the appeal filed by cook Vasanthi, who was awarded five years imprisonment by the trial court.
It, however, modified the sentence to one of ‘period already undergone’. The bench, while directing that the bail bonds executed by the accused shall stand terminated, directed the first accused Palanisamy to remit the modified fine amount of Rs 1.16 lakh or otherwise go to jail forthwith to serve the default sentence.
Life term awarded to first accused modified
The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed the appeal filed by cook Vasanthi, who was awarded five years imprisonment by the trial court. It, however, modified the sentence to one of ‘period already undergone’. The bench also modified the life sentence awarded to first accused Palanisamy to one of period already undergone during investigation, trial and post conviction