Chennai, Mar 25 : The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Monday convicted and sentenced a retired police official to four years imprisonment in the 2007 Dinakaran newspaper attack case in which three employees were charred to death.
The Court awarded jail term to retired DSP Rajaram today, as he could not appear before it on March 21 when the verdict was delivered. A Division Bench comprising Justices P N Prakash and B Pugalendhi sentenced the DSP to one year rigorous imprisonment under 217 (Public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment) of the IPC and four years imprisonment under section 221 (1) (Punishment for intentional omission to apprehend on the part of public servant bound to apprehend) of the IPC. Both the sentences will run concurrently, they said.
While delivering the verdict on March 21 on an appeal filed by the CBI against the lower court order acquitting all the 17 accused in the case, a Division Bench comprising Justices P N Prakash and B Pugalendhi convicted and awarded life sentence to nine of them, including the key accused V P Pandi alias 'Attack' Pandi', a supporter of expelled DMK leader and former Union Minister M K Alagiri, and sentenced seven others to five years imprisonment.
The court said it would pronounce the quantum of sentence to the 17th accused, the then Oomachikulam Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajaram, today and directed him to appear before it, following which he was also convicted and sentenced.
Rajaram was accused of aiding the accused for carrying out the attack by deliberately deploying the local police personnel on bandobust duty elsewhere to prevent the police from stopping the accused.
While passing orders, the Bench also directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay a compensation of Rs five lakh each within three months to the families of three employees--Gopinath, Vinod and Muthuramalingan--who were killed in the attack.
The appeal was filed by the CBI challenging the verdict of the Principal District and Sessions court, Madurai, which had acquitted all the accused for want of sufficient evidence, in December 2009.
It may be recalled that the office of the Tamil daily owned by late DMK leader M Karunanidhi's grandnephew Kalanithi Maran was attacked with petrol bombs on May 9, 2007 after it published a survey that showed DMK President M K Stalin as the most favoured heir to Mr Karunanidhi than his elder brother M K Alagiri.
Enraged over the publishing of the survey report, a group of people led by 'Attack' Pandi, set the office on fire killing three employees on the spot. (UNI)