Principal in India allegedly poisoned school lunches, killing 23

July 24, 2013 at 7:51 PM
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BIHAR STATE, India, July 24 (UPI) -- The principal of a school in India was arrested Wednesday after 23 students died and 25 others got sick eating poison-laced food, police said.

Meena Kumari, 36, who had disappeared after the July 16 incident, was apprehended by police while on her way to court in Bihar state where she intended to surrender herself, CNN reported in New Delhi.

Kumari is scheduled to appear in court Thursday, Police Superintendent Sujeet Kumar said.

Forensic scientists found monocrotophos, an insecticide that's toxic to humans, in residue from the food and oil used to make the deadly school lunch, CNN reported.

"It does not appear to be mere coincidence or negligence," Bihar's chief minister, Nitish Kumar, said.

Manju Devi, a cook at the school who also was hospitalized after eating the food she prepared, said she told Kumari the mustard oil to be used for the lunch smelled and looked bad, but the principal insisted she continue making the meal.

The angry parents of at least three victims buried their children close to the government-run school -- one in front of the school building, officials said.

Police said they wanted to question Kumari's husband, who has not been accused in the case, but his whereabouts were unknown.

No possible motive for the poisoning was reported.

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