Tamil Nadu minister dies in road accident

The first meeting of the 14th Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly began on a sombre note on Monday after  AIADMK Minister Mariam Pitchai was killed in a road accident near Perambalur.

Mariam Pitchai, in-charge of  Environment and Minorities Welfare, died on the spot when his car rammed into a container lorry  near Padalur in Perambalur district. The minister was on his way to Chennai on Monday morning from Tiruchirappalli when the mishap occurred.

Pitchai, who defeated  DMK strongman and former minister K N Nehru in the recently held Assembly elections from the Tiruchirappalli West constituency, had gone to his home town on Sunday after attending a Cabinet meeting here.  Pitchai,  a Muslim community nominee in the new Cabinet, took part in a function at Tiruchirappalli early this morning and was rushing to the city for the meeting in the Legislative Assembly.
Shops remained closed as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
A visibly upset Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, after taking oath as member of the Assembly first, rushed to Tiruchirappalli by a special flight to pay homage to Pitchai and console his family  memberse.

The deceased, a staunch loyalist of ‘Amma’ has been in the AIADMK since its inception in 1972. Earlier, the House which met in the Old Assembly Hall in Fort St. George with the pro tem Speaker Dr C K Tamizharasan in the Chair, expressed  shock and grief at the demise of Mariam Pitchai. The proceedings began with the House expressing its grief over the death of the minister.

Apart from other AIADMK ministers and members, leaders of various parties, including actor Vijayakant and veteran Panruti S Ramachandran (both DMDK), former deputy chief minister M K Stalin (DMK), A Soundararajan (CPI-M), Arumugam (CPI), actor Sarath Kumar (All India Samuthuva Makkal Katchi), K Krishnasamy (Puthiya Tamizhagam), Jawaharullah (MMK), were among those who took the oath at the first session of the Assembly.

Jaya orders probe

J Jayalalitha on Monday ordered a crime branch probe into the road accident after  people and partymen met her at Tiruchirappalli expressed “suspicion”  over the incident. Doubts grew as the lorry involved in the accident had driven away from the scene, sources said.

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