Special Correspondent

Charges against all 13 accused “not proved”

Accused include Madurai Corporation Deputy Mayor

TIRUPATI: M.K. Azhagiri, elder son of Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi, and 12 others accused in the murder of former Dravida Munnetra Kazagam Minister, ‘Pasumpon’ T. Kiruttinan, were acquitted by a Chittoor court on Thursday.

Delivering the judgment in a packed court hall, Principal District and Sessions Judge P. Durga Prasad held that the charges against the 13 accused were “not proved” and declared them “not guilty.” The accused included Deputy Mayor of Madurai Corporation P.M. Mannan, and several other cadres of the ruling DMK.

Mr. Azhagiri and others were booked under various sections including 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 109 (abetment to commit an offence) of IPC. The trial court examined 82 of the 114 persons named as witnesses in the case.

The police had thrown a security blanket around the court as a precautionary measure.

Celebrations

Minutes after the judgment, supporters of Mr. Azhagiri began celebrations by setting off fireworks. In Madurai too, DMK cadres celebrated the verdict.

Three-time MP and former Highways Minister, Kiruttinan, was murdered near his K.K. Nagar residence in Madurai on May 20, 2003 while he was returning home from a morning walk.

A motorcycle-borne gang stabbed the 66-year-old party functionary killing him on the spot.

The Anna Nagar police registered a case and arrested Mr. Azhagiri the next day accusing him of conspiring the murder.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was in power in Tamil Nadu at that time.

After the case was chargesheeted in a Madurai court, it was transferred to Chittoor following a petition filed by the AIADMK in the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the case to some other State. The petition contended that justice might not be done and fair play could be denied in Tamil Nadu since the father of the accused, Mr. Karunanidhi, had by then returned as the Chief Minister of the State.

V.V. Chandrasekharan, a senior criminal lawyer of Chittoor assisted by P. Vijayakrishna Reddy appeared for Mr. Azhagiri, while Public Prosecutor D. Rajendra Reddy appeared for the prosecution.