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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Bihar school principal sent to judicial custody

IANS  Patna, July 25, 2013
First Published: 19:27 IST(25/7/2013) | Last Updated: 20:54 IST(25/7/2013)

A Bihar court on Thursday sent Meena Devi, the principal of a government primary school in Saran district where 23 children died of food poisoning last week, to judicial custody till August 5, a police officer said.

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The principal was presented in the district chief judicial magistrate's (CJM) court amid tight security, Saran superintendent of police Sujit Kumar said.

Meena Devi was arrested by the Special Investigation Team of Bihar Police on Wednesday.

According to police officials, she denied her involvement in the tragic incident in which 23 children died after eating their mid-day meal at the Gandaman village primary school in Saran.

A forensic lab report last week confirmed presence of toxic insecticide traces in the cooking oil used for making food at the school.

The poisonous substance, organophosphorus, in oil samples collected from school was more than five times the commercial preparation available in market, police said.

Police have filed a petition in the court to conduct polygraph test of Meena Devi. "If court gives us permission for it, we will apply for her remand," Sujit Kumar said.

A first information report has been registered against her on penal charges of murder and criminal conspiracy.

The school principal, who was suspended from service for gross negligence, was evading arrest from the day of the incident July 16.

Earlier on Tuesday, the court of CJM Narendra Mohan Jha declared Meena Devi a proclaimed offender.

Police raided her house twice and recovered a bottle of pesticide traces of which were suspected to be present in the school food.

According to district officials, Meena Devi had forced the cook to use an allegedly contaminated cooking oil despite the latter's complaint that it had a pungent smell.


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