HC posts Dinakaran newspaper office attack case hearing for April 18

Hearing a CBI petition seeking to condone the delay of 118 days in filing an appeal against the lower court judgement acquitting all the accused in the case, a division bench of Justice S Rajeswaran and Justice G M Akbar Ali posted the case for hearing on April 18.

CBI had submitted that the delay was caused owing to the time taken in obtaining approval from the Centre. The court also asked the respondents to file the counter on April 18 for maintainability.

The respondents had questioned the maintainability of the appeal, and wanted to file their counter and sought time after the elections. The CBI counsel strongly objected when the counsel for the respondents sought time on the grounds of the coming April 13 Tamil Nadu elections.

The CBI counsel said the case had been already delayed by 118 days, and they should not be given further time. One of the respondents had already filed his counter, and there was no need for time for the other accused, the CBI counsel argued.

Three employees of Dinakaran, a Tamil daily, lost their lives in the attack on the office on May 9, 2007 following the publication of a survey that 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 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 sections.

Deputy Superintendent of Police V Rajaram, who was on duty at the time of the incident, 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 Madras High Court had on March 14 allowed a CBI petition seeking to condone the delay of 118 days in filing an appeal against the lower court judgement acquitting the 17 accused in the case.

In his counter filed against the appeal, Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajaram, who was on duty when the incident took place and has been accused of failing to perform his duty, contended that the competent person to file the appeal in the case was the Central Government, and not the investigating agency.

Rajaram submitted that as the case was investigated by the Delhi Special Police establishment, as per the provisions of the Criminal Procedure code only Central government should direct the Public Prosecutor to file the appeal.

No specific direction had been given to the Special Public Prosecutor to file an appeal in the case, and hence the appeal was not filed in compliance with the mandatory provisions of the CrPC, because of which the criminal appeal should be rejected, he submitted.

Contending that the appeal was "vexatious", Rajaram said the trial court had analysed "all the materials" and had come to the conclusion that the prosecution "miserably failed" in proving the case beyond reasonable doubt.

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