Two more convicts seek acquittal in Kumbakonam School fire tragedy case
Madurai: Two more officials of the Education Department, who were convicted in the 2004 Kumbakonam School fire tragedy that claimed 94 lives, filed petitions seeking suspension of sentence and bail at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court here on Tuesday.
G Durairaj, Personal Assistant to the District Education officer, and Sivaprakasam, Office Superintendent of District Education Office, who were sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs.10000, claimed they had a fair chance of acquittal in the High Court.
Filing the affidavit through his wife, Durairaj claimed only three out of the 230 witnesses deposed against him and that deposition also was non-specific.
Sivaprakasam submitted that he regularly attended the trial court proceedings and a proper analysis would show that the prosecution had not proved the case beyond doubt.
On August 22, four convicts, including founder of the Sri Krishna Primary School and prime accused Pulavar R Palanisamy, the lone life convict in the case, moved the court challenging their conviction and sentence by the trial court last month.
They sought acquittal contending that the source of fire mishap was the kitchen of noon-meal scheme which was not under their control.
Thanjavur Principal District and Sessions Court Judge Mohammed Ali had on July 30 convicted and sentenced Palanisamy to life imprisonment and other petitioners -- his wife and school administrator Saraswathi, headmistress SanthaLakshmi and Office Superintendent of District Education Office Thandavan to five years rigorous imprisonment and fine.
The court had convicted a total of ten accused while acquitting 11 others, most of them government employees. One of the accused was awarded two-year jail term while nine others five years.