Arrested principal wants CBI probe in school deaths

Patna, July 24 (IANS) Minutes before she was arrested, Meena Devi, principal of a primary school in Bihar where 23 children died after eating contaminated food, demanded a CBI probe into the tragedy.

"I am innocent and (have been) deliberately framed in the case. I demand a CBI probe," she told a Hindi TV news channel in Saran minutes before she was arrested.

She said she had no faith in the Bihar Police or the Special Investigation Team formed by the state government to probe the deaths.

Meena Devi said she and her husband Arjun Rai had nothing to do with any political party.

"These are baseless allegations levelled by vested interests."

She also denied that her husband owned a grocery shop from where food and groceries for the mid day meal were purchased.

She claimed that children of her family also died in the tragedy in Gandaman village.

Superintendent of Police Sujit Kumar told IANS over telephone that Meena Devi was arrested by the Special Investigation Team.

"She is being interrogated by SIT," he said.

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

Earlier Wednesday, she filed an application for anticipatory bail before in the court of the district chief judicial magistrate.

After filing the application, her lawyer said the plea was likely to come up for hearing the next day. But with her arrest, it may prove to be a futile exercise.

Police also filed a petition in the court to attach Meena Devi's property after obtaining her arrest warrant July 22.

On Tuesday, a court declared Meena Devi a proclaimed offender. She had been evading arrest from the day of the incident July 16.

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