Tamil Nadu

Dinakaran attack case: Court faults CBI for creating confusion

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The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday expressed displeasure over the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) having “created a lot of confusion” in an appeal preferred by it against the acquittal of 17 people from the 2007 Dinakaran newspaper office attack case.

A Division Bench of Justices S. Nagamuthu and M.V. Muralidaran wondered how the CBI, considered a premier investigating agency, could not have followed provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure while appointing a public prosecutor to conduct the appeal before the High Court Bench.

The judges recorded the submission of N. Nagendran, an advocate on the payrolls of CBI, that neither Section 24(1) nor 24(8) of Cr.P.C., was followed in his appointment and that he was asked to conduct the appeal through a letter written by an officer in the rank of Superintendent of Police.

“A public prosecutor should be an independent lawyer who would be able to advise the investigating agency and he should be appointed in consultation with the High Court. Here, you admit to be an employee of CBI. In such case, how will you be able to give independent opinion,” Mr. Justice Nagamuthu questioned.

Later, when the judges wanted to know why the CBI had still not arrested two of the 12 accused against whom arrest warrants were issued on January 27 for not cooperating in conducting the appeal, Mr. Nagendran said that one of them was reported to be absconding and the other had gone abroad.

The advocate said the CBI had filed a petition in the High Court Registry to split the appeal with respect to those two accused and carry on with the hearing with respect to others. Taken aback by his submission, the judges asked which provision of law permitted splitting of a criminal appeal.

To this, he urged the court to invoke its inherent power under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. Mr. Justice Muralidaran said: “Your petition has not been numbered because you did not mention the provision of law. If you had mentioned 482, it would have been returned immediately.”

On learning that an officer in the rank of Inspector of Police alone was present in the court to give instructions to the CBI counsel in the case, Mr. Justice Nagamuthu said: “It is very unfortunate that just an Inspector has come to the court to instruct you in such a serious case.”

Later, the judges directed Mr. Nagendran to explain by September 22 whether he was legally competent to conduct the appeal and adjourned the bail applications filed by some of the arrested persons to that date.

They deferred the hearing on the main appeal to October 17 with a direction to secure the remaining accused.

Three employees of the newspaper had died when a mob hurled petrol bombs on the newspaper office here on May 9, 2007 following publication of the results of a survey which claimed that people preferred DMK president M. Karunanidhi’s younger son M.K. Stalin as his political successor, over the elder son, the Madurai-based M.K. Alagiri.

However, the Principal Sessions Court here had acquitted all the 17 accused on December 9, 2009 for want of evidence leading to the present appeal pending since 2010.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 9:52:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Dinakaran-attack-case-Court-faults-CBI-for-creating-confusion/article14628892.ece

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