Chennai: The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court convicted 16 persons who had been accused in the attack on the Dinakaran newspaper office in the year 2007. The conviction comes 12 years after the incident.

Life imprisonment has been ordered to nine of the accused including ‘Attack Pandi’ who is a close aide of former Union Minister MK Alagiri. Six others have been sentenced to varying number of years in prison.

'Attack' Pandi (the main accused), Arogya Prabhu, Vijaypandi, Kandasamy, Ramaiah Pandi, Sudhakar, Tirumurugan, Roopan and Malik Basha are amongst those who have been awarded life imprisonment.

The court has further ordered the Tamil Nadu government to offer a solatium of Rs 5 lakh to the families of the three persons, Vinod, Gopinath and Muthuramalingam, who were killed in the attack.

Retired DSP Rajaram who has been convicted in the case will have to appear before the bench on March 25 to receive the quantum of sentence. Saravana Muthu, another accused, died during the course of the trial.

In 2007, the Madurai office of Tamil daily Dinakaran was attacked and three people lost their lives in the incident.

The CBI that was handling the case named as many as 17 people in the chargesheet, including that of the then deputy Superintendent of Police.

However, in December 2009, all 17 were acquitted by the district sessions court as the case had reportedly not been proven beyond all reasonable doubt.

In March 2011, the Madras High Court allowed an appeal challenging this decision by the CBI.

The Dinakaran case dates back to 2007 when the newspaper belonging to Kalanithi Maran’s Sun Group had conducted two surveys.

The first survey was published on May 5, 2007 and talked about who was the most effective central minister from Tamil Nadu.

The survey had given Dayanidhi Maran the highest ranking and showed other ministers like P Chidambaram and Anbumani Ramadoss in poor light.

The next survey was published soon after, wherein it said that MK Stalin would be Karunanidhi's heir. Kanimozhi and Alagiri had received no votes from people.

On May 9, 2007, a mob led by ‘Attack Pandi’ and other supporters of Karunanidhi’s elder son MK Alagiri, hurled petrol bombs at the Dinakaran office in Madurai. The attack left three employees dead. 

The publication of the survey and the subsequent attack on the Dinakaran office caused a major rift in the DMK family between Karunanidhi and his grandnephews Kalanithi Maran and then Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran, who was then forced to step down.