The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Thursday convicted 16 people and awarded life to nine of them in connection with the petrol bomb attack on Dinakaran newspaper on May 9 2007 in which three persons died.
The attack was a sequel to a power struggle between then Union Minister Dayanadhi Maran and Alagiri, the then DMK strong man and renegade son of Karunanidhi. A survey carried out by Dinakaran, owned by the Marans, which chosen M K Stalin over Alagiri as heir of Karunanidhi was the reason behind the attack . It also claimed that Dayanidhi was more popular than Alagiri even in Madurai.
Following the clash, DMK president M Karunanidhi got Maran dropped from the Ministry by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A few months later, Maran made peace with Karunanidhi and he got re- inducted, this time as Textiles Ministry as his Telecom portfolio had since gone to A Raja.
On an appeal filed by the CBI against the lower court order acquitting all the 17 accused, a division bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi awarded life sentence to nine of them, including key accused V P Pandi alias 'Attack Pandi', an Alagiri supporter, and sentenced seven others to five years imprisonment.
All of them were part of Alagiri’s goon squad.
The bench directed the then Madurai Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajaram, who was accused of aiding the accused in carrying out the attack, to appear before it on March 25 when the sentence will be prounced.
The bench also directed the State government to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each within three months to the families of the three newspaper employees--Gopinath, Vinod and Muthuramalingan--who were killed in the attack.
Besides this case, Alagiri was also indicted in the murder of senior DMK member and former member of Parliament D Krishnan who refused to toe his line. He was, however, acquitted by the trial court in Chittor, where it was shifted, for want of evidence.
Despite such a track record, Karunanidhi got Alagiri inducted into the UPA 2 and he served as Minister for Chemicals and Fertiliserfor two years. Not knowing English and not smart to learn from Tamil assistants, Alagiri felt all at sea in Delhi.
He was expelled from the party March 2014, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, only after he refused to accept Stalin as working president and eventual successor to Karunanidhi.