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A Bihar court Monday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against the absconding principal of the government primary school in Saran district where 23 children died after eating contaminated food last week, an official said.

Saran District Magistrate Abhijit Sinha said Chapra district civil court issued the warrant against Meena Devi, the headmistress of the school at Gandaman village, after hearing a police application.

A government inquiry report earlier blamed Meena Devi for the deaths of the children who had consumed mid-day meal July 16.

“There is no trace of her. The administration has decided to attach her property to put pressure on her to come forward,” a district police official said.

Police raided her house twice in the last three days and recovered a bottle of pesticide traces of which were suspected to be present in the school food.

According to district officials, Meena Devi had forced the cook to use an allegedly contaminated cooking oil despite the latter’s complaint that it had a pungent smell.

She has been suspended from service for gross negligence.

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

A forensic lab report Saturday confirmed presence of toxic insecticide traces in the cooking oil used for making food at the school.

The poisonous substance, organophosphorus, in oil samples collected from school was more than five times the commercial preparation available in market, police said.

(Source: IANS)

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