Press Trust of India
SALEM (Tamil Nadu), Feb. 16: Holding the death of three girls in the Dharmapuri bus burning case seven years ago as the “rarest of the rare” cases, a court here today awarded capital punishment to three AIADMK men and rigorous imprisonment for seven years to 25 others convicted of the crime.
Three students of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore ~ Kokulavani, Hemalatha and Gayatri ~ were charred to death when the bus, in which they and other students were returning from a study tour, was set ablaze on 3 February, 2000 by AIADMK men protesting the conviction of their leader Ms Jayalalithaa in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case. Eighteen others sustained burns.
Additional sessions judge Mr D Krishnaraja ordered that the three prime accused ~ Nedu alias Nedunchezhiyan (34), then secretary of the Dharmapuri unit of AIADMK, Madhu alias Ravichandran (37), then town MGR forum functionary, and C Muniappan (45), a former panchayat chief, be hanged.
The extreme punishment was being awarded to them as it would be a lesson to others, he said. The parents of the girls expressed happiness at the judgment.