School founder, bus driver, motor vehicles inspector among those held; protests in Tambaram
Late on Wednesday night, St. Thomas Mount Traffic Police, arrested N. Vijayan, founder-correspondent of Zion Group of Schools, in connection with the death of class II student S. Sruthi, earlier in the day. Yogeswaran, in charge of operating and maintaining the school’s buses, bus driver Seeman and an attendant were also arrested.
On Thursday evening, P. Rajasekaran, the motor vehicle inspector concerned was also arrested
The attendant is a minor, he was taken to the Children’s Home in Kellys. Though the school bus is registered in the name of Zion Matriculation School, Yogeswaran was in charge of it.
On Wednesday afternoon, six-year-old Sruthi had fallen through a gaping hole on the floor of her school bus and had then been run over by its rear wheels.
A case was registered under sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) and 304 (ii) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) along with section 182 (A) (offence relating to construction and maintenance of vehicles) read with section 190 (using vehicle in unsafe condition) of The Motor Vehicles Act. The men were produced at the residence of Sandilyan, Judicial Magistrate in Saidapet, and the three adults were remanded to judicial custody and taken to Puzhal Prison.
Traffic police said a fitness certificate for the bus was issued only on July 9, a little over two weeks ago. Police also said that Transport department staff had told them that during the checks, the vehicle was in fit and proper condition and that damage to the floor of the bus might have taken place later.
Meanwhile, cadre of the Democratic Youth Federation of India staged a demonstration outside the office of the Regional Transport Officer in West Tambaram. They raised slogans against the Transport department, blaming its ‘callousness’ in issuing fitness certificates.
Stating that corruption was rife in the department, the cadre said the accident was the culmination of the continuous lethargy and indifference of the department.
This was a clear indicator that fitness certificates were being given by the department arbitrarily, without proper checks of the vehicles.
R. Srinivasan, an applicant, who had come to the office, said that normally it would take at least 15 minutes to completely check a heavy vehicle, but that this was hardly ever done.
Though senior officers were not present at the office, lower-level staff said that considering the number of vehicles that came in for fitness checks, they did not have enough officers to perform these checks. However, checks on buses transporting school students were complete and foolproof, they said.
Portions of this article have been removed for legal reasons.