Bihar Mid-Day Meal: 'Killer' School Principal Arrested

Patna, July 24: In a major breakthrough in investigation of mid-day meal tragedy, Bihar Police on Wednesday, July 24 arrested the Meena Devi, one of the main accused in the case.

Meean Devi, the principal of the school where 23 children died after having contaminated mid-day meal, was absconding ever since the tragedy happened.

Mid-Day Meal Tragedy

Arrest warrant was issued against Meena Devi and her husband Arjun Rai. Speaking about manhunt by police, Saran Superintendent of Police (SP) Sujeet Kumar was quoted as saying, "Raids are being made at different places based on clues about absconding school principal Meena Devi and her husband Arjun Rai but we have not been able to nab them so far."

Meena Devi has already been suspended. An FIR also was filed against her under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy). Meanwhile, Bihar government-led by Nitish Kumar terminated the services of Block Education Extension Officer Satyendra Kumar Singh, who was responsible for monitoring the midday meal scheme at Dharmasati Gandaman primary school in Chhapra.

The state government also formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the midday meal deaths in Saran district. The eight-member team-led by Saran SP Sujeet Kumar has been probing the case.

The school principal was cornered following a forensic report which confirmed presence of pesticide in mid-day meal which was served to the school children on the fateful day. Earlier on Monday, police found pesticide packets at the residence of Meena Devi.

The Forensic Science Laboratory report found Monocrotophos, an organophosphorous compound in the samples of oil from the container, food remains on the platter and mixture of rice with vegetables on Aluminium tasla (utensil), Additional Director General of Police (HQ) Ravinder Kumar told reporters making the report public.

Monocrotophos is used as a pesticide for agricultural purposes. It is very toxic to human beings and other animals, the ADG said quoting the FSL report. The report confirmed the Bihar government's apprehension that the food given to the children of Dharmasati Gandaman primary school at Chhapra was poisoned.

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