Special Correspondent

3 persons had died in attack on newspaper office

Attack came as a reaction to a survey

MADURAI: The District and Sessions court here on Wednesday acquitted all the 17 accused in the Dinakaran office attack case. They include V.P. Pandi alias ‘Attack’ Pandi. A detailed judgment spelling out the reasoning is awaited.

The Tamil newspaper office was attacked by a mob on May 9, 2007. M. Vinod Kumar (23) and G. Gopinath (25), both engineers with the newspaper, and private security guard K. Muthuramalingam, died in a fire after petrol bombs were hurled on the premises on the Madurai-Melur highway.

The Othakadai police had registered the cases citing Sections of the Indian Penal Code including those pertaining to murder, trespass, rioting and criminal conspiracy. Video footage and pictures published by the media had shown policemen witnessing the attack. The then Director-General of Police D. Mukherjee had admitted dereliction of duty by the police and ordered a probe by a senior police officer.

The Special Crimes Branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation took up the probe and registered a fresh case. A team of officers inspected the premises and examined over 100 persons involved.

During trial, video clips on the newspaper office attack and statements of witnesses, including the newspaper’s senior employees and journalists, were recorded. However, the witnesses turned hostile.

Principal District and Sessions Judge N. Retnaraj heard the case.

The attack was a fallout of the newspaper publishing the results of what it claimed to be a State-wide survey on, among other things, who would be the political heir to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi. Those named as contenders were the three children of Mr. Karunanidhi – M.K. Stalin, M. K. Alagiri and Kanimozhi.

The survey had shown Mr. Stalin as the frontrunner with 70 per cent support, while Mr. Alagiri and Ms. Kanimozhi each had 2 per cent support. This drew protests from DMK cadres, particularly staunch loyalists of Mr. Alagiri.

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