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Deadly Bihar Mid-Day Meal Case Accused Let Go For Lack of Evidence

23 children died after consuming the mid-day meal at Dharmasati Gandaman Primary School in Bihar on 16 July 2013.

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India
3 min read
Deadly Bihar Mid-Day Meal Case Accused Let Go For Lack of Evidence

On Wednesday, the verdict was announced in the case of the deaths of 23 children after consuming the mid-day meal at Dharmasati Gandaman Primary School in Saran district of Bihar on 16 July 2013.

The then Principal Meena Devi was pronounced guilty in the case. Her husband Arjun Rai, another accused, was let off for lack of evidence against him by a trial court, reports The Telegraph.

Meena’s husband was guilty of providing contaminated oil with which the food was cooked on the unfortunate day.

When contacted, Superintendent of Police (SP) Pankaj Kumar Raj, said, “As far the court order is concerned, we are not supposed to make any comment.” He told The Telegraph that he would first go through the copy of the order, which he hasn’t got so far.

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The food served to children was allegedly contaminated with pesticide. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
The food served to children was allegedly contaminated with pesticide. (Photo: The Quint)

Eight-year-old Mamta was one of the 23 children who had died by consuming the mid-day meal served at Dharmasati Gandaman Primary School in Saran district. Her parents are not satisfied with the judgement.

Surendra Rai, Mamta’s father said, “We had not anticipated this. We want harsh punishment for the accused.”

Similar sentiments are echoed by other parents who lost their children.

The judgement failed to give a closure to all those who were anticipating justice.

Around 40 witnesses were produced and cross-examined from among the parents of children who died, the cook who prepared the meal for the children, forensic experts, and doctors who conducted post-mortems.

The FIR was lodged on a statement by Akhilanand Mishra, who lost his son in the tragedy.

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The judgment failed to bring a closure to the expectations of the parents. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
The judgment failed to bring a closure to the expectations of the parents. (Photo: The Quint)

The investigating officer of the case, Raj Kaushal, had filed a 346-page chargesheet against the accused. He had found Arjun Rai guilty under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 120B (conspiracy) and other sections of the IPC.

As per the chargesheet, Rai had allegedly bought pesticide from a sugar factory and placed it in the same room where food items for mid-day meals were stored. The food got contaminated with the pesticide and led to the deaths. Forensics had confirmed the presence of toxic elements in the food.

A polygraph test was also conducted on Meena to ascertain the truth.

The quantum of punishment under 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) will be pronounced on 29 August.

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The Court had dismissed other charges filed in the chargesheet. The maximum punishment for 304 is life imprisonment, whereas for Section 308 it is imprisonment up to three years, a fine, or both.

People are anxiously waiting for justice though. “We have faith in the judiciary,” said Rai’s elder brother Raj Kishore Prasad. “We are very pleased with the order of the Court. Justice has been done with my younger brother, who was implicated in the case.”

(Source: The Telegraph)

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