Plea in Dinakaran Office Case Admitted by HC
More than four years after a sessions court acquitted all the accused including close associates of suspended DMK leader M K Alagiri in the sensational Tamil Daily ‘Dinakaran’ office burning case, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) has admitted a petition filed by one of the victim’s mother seeking a review of the judgment.
On May 9, 2007, when the Dinakaran published the results of an opinion poll giving just two per cent popularity index to Alagiri in the ‘battle of heirs’ for taking over his father and DMK president M Karunanidhi’s political mantle, his supporters went on a rampage outside the office of the Daily. Soon the office was set on fire and three employees were asphyxiated to death.
The CBI investigated the case and cited 17 persons including DMK functionary ‘Attack’ Pandi as accused. The Oomatchikulam Deputy Superintendent of Police V Rajaram, who allegedly failed to stop the agitators from resorting to violence, was also arraigned as an accused.
The prosecution had listed 85 witnesses but during the trial, prime witnesses such as Aladiyan, the Sub Inspector of Police, Othakadai Station and the Daily’s Deputy News Editor (first eyewitness) turned hostile. Eventually on December 9, 2009, the Madurai Sessions-cum-District Court acquitted all the accused stating that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt.
Though the CBI, after a prolonged delay appealed against the verdict, the former DSP Rajaram challenged the petition claiming that only the State was entitled to go in appeal. These petitions were pending before the court.
In this backdrop, Poongodi, the mother of Vinodh, one of the three employees who died in the incident, has challenged the acquittal of the accused.
In her review petition, she alleged that witnesses had turned hostile only because no protection was given to them due to the prevailing political situation then. Also, the acquitted persons had strong political background and they had influenced the case. She alleged that since the DMK was in power then, it did not appeal against the verdict.
Hence, she prayed the court to admit her review petition and order fresh investigation and trial in the case. Admitting the revision petition, Justice R S Ramanathan issued notice to all the acquitted persons including ‘Attack’ Pandi.