The Madras High Court Thursday convicted nine people to life imprisonment in a case related to the attack on the office of Tamil daily 'Dinakaran' here in 2007 in which three men were killed. Gopinath, Vinoth and Muthuramalingam were killed in the attack on May 5, 2007.
On December 9, 2009, all the 17 people arrested in the case were acquitted of murder charges by a CBI special court. Later, the CBI, which investigated the case, and Vinoth's mother filed an appeal.
A bench of justices P N Prakash and B Pugalendi of the high court's Madurai bench sentenced 'Attack' Pandi, Vijaya Pandi, Kandasamy, Ramaiah Pandian, Prabhu, V Sudhakar, Thirumurgan, Ruban and Malik Batcha to three terms of life imprisonment. Cases were filed against them under the Explosives Act and charges of causing damage to properties and murders.
The judges also sentenced them to five years of rigorous imprisonment under under the act. The sentences would be run concurrently. 'Attack' Pandi is, at present, lodged at the Palayamkottai Central Jail for the murder of 'Pottu' Suresh. The judges directed that the eight others should be arrested immediately and sent to jail.
They also directed that Rs 5 lakh each should be given as compensation to families of the three deceased people. The court has decided that a DSP, Rajaram, was also an accused in the case, and directed him to appear before the court on March 25, the bench said. Saravanamuthu, another accused, died during the trial.
Regarding the seven others, the bench said they would undergo five years of imprisonment under the Explosives Act and on charges of causing damage to properties and murders. Three employees of the daily were killed in the attack on the office following the publication of a survey which gave an edge to the then deputy chief minister and DMK president late M Karunanidhi's son M K Stalin over his brother and then Union minister M K Alagiri to succeed their father.
The CBI, after a long delay of over four years, had filed the revision petition in 2014. Of the 17 convicts acquitted by the district and sessions court here in December 2009, 11 had been arrested after the bench issued non-bailable warrants as they failed to appear for hearing of the appeal.
Another convict, Dayamuthu, is absconding and stated to be staying somewhere in Malaysia, while the others have obtained bail.