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Advocates save TN judge's life as criminals go berserk

Hell broke loose in a Madras court on Tuesday when the accused in the Chandralekha acid attack case made an attempt on a judge's life.

The four accused, including notorious criminal Surla, were in turn severely beaten up with chairs and footwear by enraged advocates.

The accused, facing trial for the alleged acid attack on Tamil Nadu Janata Party president Chandralekha, were incensed over the "inordinate delay" in the commencement of the trial and denial of bail.

Engaging Additional Sessions Judge P N Krishnamurthy in a wordy duel, the accused suddenly jumped over the railing separating them from the judge, lifted some chairs and moved menacingly towards him.

Judge Krishnamurthy took shelter under his table for a few seconds before running into his chamber.

''By god's grace I was saved," a visibly shaken Judge Krishnamurthy told the media.

The accused and a constable, who was also injured in the melee, were taken to hospital.

Expressing anguish over "inadequate security" when notorious criminals were brought to the court, the judge said, "Every day I pray to god that I should return home safe."

Madras high court Chief Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan asked the deputy registrar to ascertain the facts.

Enquiries revealed that only five police constables accompanied the accused as against the stipulated seven. While two constables were standing outside, three others were inside the court when the incident took place at 1310 hrs.

The court hall was strewn with broken chairs and footwear.

The acid attack incident occurred on May 19, 1992.

Following a petition filed by Chandralekha, the Supreme Court had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate the case. The petition was moved following the then Jayalalitha government's refusal to refer the case to the CBI.

This is the second unruly courtroom incident involving Surla, who has been in jail since late 1992. On an earlier occasion, when he was being escorted from a court, he shouted at the media that he attacked the JD leader at the instance of Jayalalitha and her close friend Sasikala Natarajan.

The CBI is yet to file the chargesheet in the case. The other accused are Annadurai, Damodhar Pande and Chokka More all from Bombay.


'Karunanidhi does not have a good track record'/V S Chandralekha

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