Apart from the former DMK strongman, one of his close associates Murugesan has also passed away during the course of the trial. Pronouncing the judgment, the Salem first additional district court judge L Abraham Lincoln acquitted all the accused for lack of evidence to prove their involvement in the offence beyond doubt.
According to police, on January 20, 2008, a gang took over a piece of land in the colony claiming that it was purchased by a person close to former minister Arumugam.
The evicted families contended that the rights of the land, belonging to a private trust, were vested with them for years by virtue of gift deeds given to their forefathers in 1959. The residents formed a Land Retrieval Struggle Committee and later re-occupied the colony.
In retaliation, a gang of armed party men pulled down huts and even set fire to them in a bid to vacate the residents from the colony in June, 2012.
The Pallapatty police registered a case against 37 persons, including Arumugam under various IPC sections for conspiracy, abetment, rioting, trespass, dacoity, and attempt to murder and criminal intimidation, and provisions of the Tamil Nadu Damage to Public Property Act, 1994.
However, following a favourable verdict, the DMK workers broke into celebration by garlanding the statue of Arumugam erected in front of the party office in Salem. Arumugam’s son ‘Veerapandi’ A Raja, who led the celebrations, also distributed sweets to the party men.
“The then AIADMK government had foisted false cases against my father and party men on the issue, but justice has prevailed finally,” he told reporters.