Accused of negligence that led to death of class IV student

A day after class IV student, M. Ranjan of Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan in K.K. Nagar, drowned in the school swimming pool, city police arrested Sheela Rajendra (51), deputy dean & director and correspondent of the PSBB Group of Schools, on Friday. She was later released on bail.

Around 8 p.m., a police team took Ms. Rajendra into custody from her residence on North Crescent Road, T. Nagar. She was taken to K.K. Nagar police station and produced before a magistrate.

A case has been booked under Section 304 (A) (causing death by negligence). Police said she was arrested as adequate safety precautions were not in place at the pool.

Earlier on Friday, a police team took control of the pool as part of the probe and barred school staff from entering the area until the probe was over.

Police also questioned the principal of the school, Indira Vaidyanathan, and other staff members on Friday.

The accident took place around 9.30 a.m. on Thursday when Ranjan was attending the swimming class. He did a few laps in the pool and collapsed while getting out of the pool. His coach and other staff members rushed him to a hospital where he was declared ‘brought dead’. K.K. Nagar police registered a case of death by negligence and arrested five persons including the swimming coach, physical trainer and contractor of the pool. All of them were released on bail.

A senior police officer said the case was being looked at from two angles — one, whether the coaches and staff members made any attempts to rescue the boy immediately after he collapsed, and two, if they failed to notice the child collapse inside the pool and realised only later, when they did a head count for the 26 children who took part in the swimming class, that Ranjan was missing.

“We expect the post-mortem report to be ready in three days. This will give exact details on the cause of Ranjan’s death. Accordingly, we will proceed further with a detailed probe,” said an investigating officer.

At Ranjan’s home

Speaking to The Hindu on Friday, after Ranjan’s funeral, his father K.N.R. Manohar said he was unaware of what exactly happened. “I have heard many versions. The school authorities told me he swallowed a lot of water while swimming. But I’m waiting for the post-mortem report. At this point, I’m not blaming anyone,” said the film director who was in tears.

Grief-struck relatives and acquaintances consoled Mr. Manohar and his wife Radhika, who were seen clutching Ranjan’s photographs and a conduct certificate awarded to him from school recently.

The couple said Ranjan enjoyed swimming and loved playing cricket. “He was in good health and left the house cheerfully on Thursday morning with his sister Snehita, who also studies in the same school. Some media reports that suggested Ranjan suffered from epilepsy are not true,” the father said.

Monday holiday for school

The school authorities have declared a holiday on Monday for all branches of the school.

More In: Chennai