After a week-long manhunt, Bihar police on Wednesday arrested the principal of the primary school where 23 students had died last week after consuming free mid-day meal laced with a poisonous pesticide.
Bereaved relatives of a victim who had died, allegedly as a result of food-poisoning from the free mid-day meal provided at their school near Chhapra in Bihar. HT photo
Saran superintendent of police Sujit Kumar said that Meena Devi – principal of the Dharmasati primary school in Gandaman – was arrested by members of the special investigation team (SIT) at around 1pm on Wednesday while she was on her way to a court in Chhapra to file for anticipatory bail.
Meena Devi, who had gone underground after the incident, has been charged with gross negligence in running the mid-day meal scheme leading to contamination of the cooking oil with organo-phosphorous, which ultimately killed 23 students on July 16.
She was named as an accused in the FIR, registered under IPC under Sections 302 (murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy). Read: Bihar: 3 lakh teachers to boycott mid-day meal plan
The scattered belongings of children who consumed a free mid day meal, are seen in Dharma Sati village in the Saran district of Bihar. (AFP photo)
Read more : People from outside Bihar behind mid-day meal tragedy: Nitish
Her husband, who is still absconding, supplied the school with the raw material for the mid-day meal scheme.
The arrest coincided with the decision of the three lakh-strong Bihar primary school teachers deciding to pull out of the mid-day meal scheme saying that should be engaged only in academic work. Read: KMC rustles up a plan to ensure safe mid-day meals