Madurai: The Madras High Court has
allowed a CBI petition seeking to condone the delay of 118
days in filing an appeal against a lower court judgement
acquitting 17 people, including a DSP, in the 2007 Dinakaran
newspaper office attack case.
A division bench of justices S Rajeswaran and GM
Akbar Ali posted the matter for hearing on March 22, accepting
the CBI plea that the delay was caused owing to the time taken
in obtaining approval from the Centre.
Three employees of the daily lost their lives in the
attack on the office on May 9, 2007 following the publication
of a survey which gave an edge to Deputy Chief Minister and
Karunanidhi`s son M K Stalin over his brother Union Minister
Alagiri to succeed their father.
The Tamil newspaper is owned by the Maran
brothers - Kalanidhi and Union Minister Dayanidhi, grand
nephews of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
Seventeen persons were charged under various IPC
Deputy Superintendent of Police V Rajaram, who was on
duty at the time of occurrence, was accused of failing to
perform his duty. Principal District and Sessions Judge N
Retnaraj acquitted all the accused on December 9, 2009 on the
ground that the prosecution had failed to prove the case
beyond all reasonable doubts.
The CBI said, "The trial court ought to have
considered the evidentiary value of Prosecution Witness 1 (the
newspaper`s employee whose complaint led to registration of
the First Information Report)."
"Since he had turned hostile, his deposition cannot be
discarded in entirety. The trial court should have elicited
the truth from the portion of his evidence."
The CBI felt that as the video footage of the incident
had been telecast on various channels and the photographs had
been published in dailies, there was no need to conduct an
identification parade in the present case.
Identification parade, if conducted in this backdrop,
would have been a farce, the CBI affidavit said.
The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) had
found the photographs and video footage to be genuine on the
basis of their resolution.
The CBI said the trial court had erred in discarding
the opinion given by CFSL, and holding that the CFSL report
was not a scientific one as no scientific machinery was
applied to decide whether there was tampering or not.
The trial court had failed to adopt a proactive
approach in finding out the truth, the investigating agency
The publication of the survey had soured relations
between the families of Karunanidhi and the Marans but they
later patched up.