The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday ordered notices to 17 persons who were acquitted in the 2007 Dinakaran newspaper office attack case and sought their response to a petition filed by the mother of a deceased employee of the daily to condone the delay of 1,434 days in preferring a revision petition against their acquittal by a lower court in 2009.

Justice R.S. Ramanathan also ordered notices to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as well as the State government returnable by March 25.

Earlier, Senior Counsel V. Gopinath, appearing for the petitioner Poongodi, informed the court that an appeal preferred by the CBI in July 2010 challenging the acquittal of the 17 accused was still pending before the High Court.

A mob had hurled petrol bombs inside the newspaper office on May 9, 2007 following publication of the results of a survey which projected Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi’s younger son M.K. Stalin as his most preferred successor than elder son M.K. Alagiri. The attack led to the death of three employees, including the petitioner’s son Vinodh, of the newspaper.

The then DMK government handed over the investigation in the case to the CBI which filed a charge sheet against 17 individuals, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who was accused of having failed to prevent the attack.

However, the Principal District and Sessions Court here acquitted all of them on December 9, 2009 for want of sufficient evidence.

The CBI preferred an appeal before the High Court Bench in July 2010 with a delay of 118 days. The Bench condoned the delay on March 13 despite objections raised by those who had been acquitted. Later on June 30, 2011, it granted leave to the CBI to prefer the appeals after eschewing objections raised by the accused.

Holding that the investigating agency had raised “arguable grounds” in the appeal, the court had directed its Registry to list the matter for hearing during the regular course.