Karunanidhi’s son Azhagiri cleared of murder charge(Lead)

May 8th, 2008 - 8:08 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh), May 8 (IANS) M.K. Azhagiri, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, and 12 others were Thursday acquitted of all charges in the 2003 murder of DMK leader and former minister T. Kiruttinan. Sessions Judge P. Durga Prasad examined 82 out 114 witnesses. Most of the prosecution witnesses turned hostile during the trial.

Kiruttinan was hacked to death May 20, 2003 as he was returning from his morning stroll.

Azhagiri was arrested the following day on charges of masterminding the conspiracy to kill the former minister as a result of intra-party factional feud, arising out of differences following the party’s organisational polls.

The prosecution claimed Kiruttinan was murdered because he and Azhagiri were engaged in a turf war in southern Tamil Nadu.

The high-profile case is being tried in this small Andhra Pradesh town, 190 km west of Tamil Nadu capital Chennai, since last year after a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices S. Ashok Bhan and V.S. Sirpurkar transferred it from a Madurai court, where the trial went on for four years.

The bench ruled in August 2007 that allegations of threats to prosecution witnesses -cited by a Tamil Nadu court, indicating Azhagiri’s enormous influence - “were disturbing”.

Kiruttinan, a minister in Karunanidhi’s ministry when the DMK was the ruling party 1996-2001, handled the party’s affairs in Sivaganga district that includes the parliamentary constituency of union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

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