Kumbakonam fireJPG-min

HC permits arrival of all blamed in Kumbakonam school fire

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Sets aside conviction of seven accused

The Madras High Court on Thursday set aside the conviction of seven accused and modified the sentences of two others, thus ensuring release of all convicted by the trial court in the July 16, 2004 fire that engulfed two schools in Kumbakonam, killing 92 students and injuring 14.

A bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and V.M. Velumani upheld the convictions of the first accused, ‘Pulavar’ R. Palanisamy, founder of Sri Krishna Middle School, and R. Vasanthi, the cook. However, Mr. Palanisamy’s life sentence and Ms. Vasanthi’s five-year rigorous imprisonment were modified “to one of period already undergone by the appellant during investigation and post-conviction”.

The High Court also modified the fine to be paid by Palani₹51.65 lakh to ₹1,16,500.

On July 30, 2014, the trial court in Thanjavur had convicted 10 and acquitted 11 people.

The High Court on Thursday allowed the appeals of seven other accused.

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