In a bizarre defence of the tragedy that resulted in the deaths of 22 school children who consumed a mid-day meal, Bihar's Education Minister PK Shahi today said that a political conspiracy couldn't be ruled out as the cause.
Shahi alleged that the husband of the school's principal, who was the contractor supposed to provide food for the mid-day meal, was close to a political leader.
The minister claimed that the cook of the mid-day meal had complained about the quality of oil being used in the school's kitchen but was instructed by the principal to continue using it.
"The police has to investigate if the poison turned in the food as a result of a conspiracy or whether it happened inadvertently," Shahi said.
The minister pointed to the fact that all the male members of the principal's family were absconding following the incident, which showed their possible involvement.
"Doctors have said the odour from the children's vomit proves that there was organic phosphorus in the mid-day meal," he said.
Shahi said the state government had done all it could to provide the best medical facilities to the students after the incident.
He also said the death toll from the incident presently was at 22, with three children in critical condition. Many children are still undergoing treatment.
The minister accused rivals like Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad of indulging in politics over the tragedy.
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Updated Date: Jul 17, 2013 18:04:43 IST