Chennai supermarket owners jailed after fire tragedy

September 10th, 2008 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 10 (IANS) The owners of fire-gutted supermarket Saravana Stores, S. Rajaratnam and his brother S. Yogaratnam were remanded to judicial custody Wednesday.The two brothers and Yogaratnam’s son Shanmuga Durai surrendered before the Metropolitan Magistrate’s court late evening answering to arrest warrants against them.

Magistrate Arunachalam rejected arguments by defence counsel that they were heading a commercial empire and there was no need to arrest them as they were unlikely to abscond.

The court ordered authorities to lodge them at the high-security Puzhal prison.

While the Madras High Court had dismissed their anticipatory bail petitions Tuesday, local courts had turned down similar pleas of two senior employees of the shop on the grounds that they were to be tried for negligence and culpable homicide.

Three floors of Saravana Stores had gone up in flames early Sep 1 leading to the death of two employees.

Over 100 small business establishments adjacent to the supermarket remained closed for the 10th consecutive day since the fire services department was yet to declare the structures safe, resulting in hardships to over 500 small traders and employees.

A public interest litigation against the compendium of illegal structures in the business district of T. Nagar is pending before the Madras High Court.

Among others, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had faulted the supermarket management for violating building norms which delayed fire tenders from extinguishing the flames quickly.

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