Four sentenced in TN wedding hall fire tragedy case

A court here sentenced owner of a wedding hall at Srirangam, where a fire during a marriage ceremony killed 64 persons, including the bridegroom in 2004, and three others to various terms of imprisonment ranging from six months to two years on multiple counts.

Principal District and Sessions Judge P Velmurugan yesterday sentenced the owner of the hall S Ramaswamy to two years rigorous imprisonment under IPC 304 (a)(causing death due to negligence), and one-year RI under Sec 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

He was also asked to pay total compensation of Rs 35.30 lakh to the families of the dead and the injured and slapped a fine of Rs 1,400.

Three others were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment ranging from six months to one year under the same IPC sections.

Another accused was let off with a fine. One of the accused died during the trial.
The sentences will run concurrently and the period of detention already undergone by the accused will be set off.

The fire broke out in the thatched roof of the marriage hall on January 23, 2004, apparently triggered by a short-circuit caused by a video wire. With the burning roof collapsing on guests, a narrow staircase was the only exit route and many died in stampede.

A total of 64 persons, including the bridegroom were killed in the mishap while 33, including the bride, suffered burns.

Apart from the hall owner, videographer P Dharmaraj, his assistant R Balaji, P Selvam, who put up the thatched roof, S Sadagopan, the hall manager and K Murugesan, electrician, were arrested and prosecuted.

Selvam died during the course of the trial.

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