Fourteen years after the Kumbakonam fire tragedy that ended the lives of 94 children, the families of the victims are still facing challenges to get their solarium, this time from their own lawyer.
Putting their lives into yet another tailspin, the CBCID raided the house of S Tamilarasan, the lawyer representing the victims on Sunday for allegedly misappropriating the solatium given by the government.
According to a report in the Times of India, U Marimuthu, who lost his son Mohan Kumar in the school fire received Rs 8.01 lakh from the government as solatium. However, it is alleged that the lawyer misappropriated Rs 2.30 lakh of the amount and diverted it to bank account of his relatives. This reportedly led the CBCID sleuths to uncover a web of transactions worth Rs 2 crores swindled from many such victims.
The CBCID arrived at the lawyer's house in Tambaram, Chennai when neither he nor his family were around. According to a report in The Hindu, the sleuths reportedly took the keys to his house from a neighbour and began the search operations.
According to a report in the Deccan Chronicle, the Madras High Court ordered a CBCID probe on April 27. Earlier in March the court had permitted all 49 petitions filed against the lawyer alleging misappropriation and seeking refund.
The newspaper reports that the matter came to light when lawyer Tamilarasan made the parents of the victims sign two undated cheques and other blank documents well before the amount was deposited in their bank accounts. No sooner had the compensation been deposited in their accounts than the parents realised that a part of the money had been deducted as payment to their lawyer and his kin.
While the court has ordered the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to suspend Tamilarasan until the case is over, the CBCID report is due in court on June 5.