The Supreme Court on Friday admitted a special leave petition filed by ‘Attack’ Pandi, a key accused in the arson attack on Tamil daily ‘Dinakaran’ in 2007, challenging a Madras High Court decision to sentence him to life imprisonment. Three persons died in the incident.
A Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and A.S. Bopanna decided to examine the appeal filed by Pandi, represented by senior advocate R. Basant and advocate B. Raghunath, against the decision of the Madurai Bench of the High Court to reverse the verdict of acquittal delivered by the trial court.
In 2007, the office of Tamil daily ‘Dinakaran’ was attacked which left three employees dead.
The daily had carried a survey on whom the people preferred as the political heir of the then DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi.
Following the publication of the survey that favoured M.K. Stalin, a mob led by Pandi, allegedly a close aide of former Union Minister M.K. Alagiri, hurled petrol bombs at the newspaper’s office in Madurai.
The CBI investigated the case. Holding the State vicariously liable, the High Court ordered a compensation of ₹5 lakh each to be paid to the families of the deceased employees.
The appeals were preferred against the verdict of the Principal District and Sessions court, Madurai, acquitting all the 17 accused for want of sufficient evidence.
The High Court convicted Deputy Superintendent of Police V. Rajaram, who was included as an accused for failing to prevent the arsonists.
It sentenced ‘Attack’ Pandi, Arogyaprabhu, Vijaya Pandi, P. Kandasamy, G. Ramiah Pandian, V. Sudhakar, Thirumurugan, I. Ruban and Malik Batcha to life imprisonment on charges of murder and five years’ rigorous imprisonment, which would run concurrently under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Explosive Substances Act and the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act and imposed a fine.