Madurai: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Thursday convicted 16 people, while awarding life sentence to nine of the accused, in connection with the petrol bomb attack on Dinakaran newspaper in which three people were charred to death in 2007.
On an appeal filed by the CBI against the lower court order acquitting all the 17 accused in the case, a Division Bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi awarded life sentence to nine of them, including the key accused V P Pandi alias ‘Attack’ Pandi’, a supporter of expelled DMK leader and former Union Minister M K Alagiri, and sentenced seven others to five years imprisonment.
Eight others, who were found guilty in the case and awarded life terms were Arockiyaprabhu alias Prabhu, Vijaya Pandi, P Kandasamy, G Ramaiah Pandian, V Sudhakar, Thirumurugan alias Kattuvasi Murugan, I Ruban and Malik Batcha.
Meanwhile, the then Oomachikulam Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajaram, who was accused of aiding the accused for carrying out the attack by deliberately deploying the local police personnel on bandobast duty elsewhere to prevent the police from stopping the accused, was directed to appear before the Court on March 25 for pronouning the quantum of sentence for him.
The Bench also directed the State government to pay a compensation of Rs five lakh each within three months to the families of three employees–Gopinath, Vinod and Muthuramalingan–who were killed in the attack.
The conviction comes 12 years after the ghastly incident took place in Madurai city.
The Court had on March 13 reserved its verdict in the appeal preferred by the CBI against the verdict of the Principal District and Sessions court, Madurai, acquitting all the accused for want of sufficient evidence, in December 2009.
It may be recalled that the office of the Tamil daily owned by late DMK leader M Karunanidhi’s grandnephew Kalanithi Maran was attacked with petrol bombs on May 9, 2007 after it published
a survey that showed DMK President M K Stalin as the most favoured heir to Mr Karunanidhi than
his elder brother M K Alagiri.
Enraged over the publishing of the survey report, a group of people led byAttack Pandi, set the office on fire killing three employees on the spot. (UNI)