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AIADMK Leader, Illegal Hoarding Find No Mention in FIR After Chennai Techie Dies in Accident

Police booked the driver of the water-tanker lorry that ran over the woman after she was knocked off her two-wheeler by the hoarding. But the FIR does not name anyone else.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:September 13, 2019, 1:44 PM IST
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AIADMK Leader, Illegal Hoarding Find No Mention in FIR After Chennai Techie Dies in Accident
File photo of Subashree, the Chennai girl who died after an AIADMK billboard fell over her.
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Chennai: Less than 24 hours after a 23-year-old software engineer was killed in an accident after being knocked off her scooter by an illegal political hoarding, the ruling AIADMK seems to have washed its hands of blame in the case, and the police seem willing to allow it.

Subhashree, who was returning home after taking an exam around 2pm on Thursday, had fallen off her two-wheeler after a temporary banner erected by a leader of the All India Anna Dravida Kazhagam fell on her. A water tanker that was behind her ran over her, killing her on the spot.

After an outcry over the woman’s death and hazardous hoardings, Friday saw the accident site on the Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam Radial Road cleared of banners entirely.

Police filed an FIR against the driver of the water-tanker lorry. But it does not name anyone else for any role in the accident.

The life-size illegal hoarding, precariously placed on the median of the busy road, was erected by a former ADMK councillor, C Jeyagopal, for a wedding in his family.

The hoardings also had pictures of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palanisamy, his deputy O Panneerselvam and former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

While the Opposition DMK blamed the government for negligence, ADMK spokesperson Kovai Satyan said the banner was erected for a personal function, not a party event.

"I share my grief to the family and I sincerely pray for her soul to rest in peace. Our leader will be issuing a circular to cadre to not erect hoardings or banners. We regret this and they are not above the law," Satyam told News18. Action will be taken against the former councillor who erected this banner as well, he added.

But the same alacrity shown by the police in booking the driver has not been shown in going after the councillor.

A case was only registered against Jayagopal after a complaint was filed by assistant engineer of the Chennai corporation under Section 4 of The Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959, for installing the hoarding without permission. The maximum punishment under this is one year in jail.

Significantly, the Madras High Court has, in earlier judgments, banned the erection of hoardings and cut-outs and had warned parties of strict action against this trend.

In 2017, a young techie had lost his life in Coimbatore after his bike had hit a wooden structure erected for an ADMK event.

Subhashree's grieving family is yet to receive her body after post mortem and other medico-legal formalities.

Her father, Ravi, is inconsolable. "Due to this banner culture, I've lost my daughter. The banner fell down on my daughter and she died on the spot. She had plans to go to Canada next month but now she has left us forever,” he said.

“No other parent should suffer what we are going through. The lorry driver also came in high speed and ran over my daughter. She was our strength of our family and now we have lost her," Ravi told mediapersons. Subhashree was his only child.

Now sanitised of banners, all that remains at the accident site are a pair of chappals that were worn by her, the marks of her two-wheeler as it skidded, and stains of her blood.

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