The Thamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam and a Dalit leader John Pandian, who was acquitted by the Supreme Court recently in a murder case, was released from the Salem Central Prison here on Monday.

His four associates were released from the Coimbatore Central Prison.

John Pandian and eight others were sentenced to life by a trial court in Coimbatore in connection with the murder of Vivek, a businessman on DB Road in R.S. Puram on August 17, 1993, which was later confirmed by the High Court.

However, Pandian and others appealed in the Supreme Court, which acquitted him and four others while confirming the sentence of two others. Two other accused had died.

John Pandian's followers from southern districts came in many vehicles to receive him.

The police made elaborate arrangements in the city to prevent any untoward incident.