Employees of gutted Chennai supermarket denied bail (Lead)

September 8th, 2008 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 8 (IANS) Courts in Tamil Nadu Monday declined to release on bail two employees of Saravana Stores, a city supermarket where a fire tragedy claimed two lives last week, and also its owner’s son, dismissing their pleas.While the Madras High Court rejected the anticipatory bail petition of Shanmugha Durai, son of Yogaratnam, one of the owners of Saravana Stores, the bail pleas of two senior employees of the establishment arrested for culpable homicide and negligence were dismissed by a local court.

Judges upheld the prosecution’s contentions pointing to the possibility of destruction of evidence by the suspects as the owners of the stores, Rajaratnam and Yogaratnam were fugitives evading arrest.

The advance bail petitions of the owner duo - Rajaratnam and Yogaratnam were dismissed Friday by the high court.

A special police squad is looking for the proprietors since Saturday, the police said.

Three storeys of the supermarket were gutted in a fire last Monday, leaving two dead.

Meanwhile, over 500 employees and owners of smaller trading outlets adjacent to Saravana Stores, forced to remain closed due to the risk to shoppers from the fire-damaged building, have threatened to block traffic in the southern business district of T. Nagar Tuesday if they are prevented from doing their business.

V.P. Kalairajan, an opposition legislator, charged the Tamil Nadu government of winking at the owners of the establishment and allowing them to go scot-free while poorer traders suffered.

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