AP court sets free 288 Tamils held over red sanders smuggling: TN Govt

The accused were also charged for the 2013 twin murder of Andhra Pradesh forest officials in Seshachalam forests.

Chennai: An Andhra Pradesh court on Wednesday acquitted 288 Tamils in cases related to murder of two forest officials and red sander smuggling.

"Third Additional District and Sessions Court, Tirupati has acquitted 288 innocent Tamils today due to the legal efforts taken by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa," Tamil Nadu government said in a release here.

A legal team headed by Tamil Nadu government advocates Mohammed Riyaz and Arul and Tirupathi-based lawyers represented the Tamils in the court and 20 hearings were held since November 3, 2015 in the cases, the government said.

The accused were charged for the 2013 twin murder of Andhra Pradesh forest officials in Seshachalam forests and red sanders smuggling, the government said.

PMK chief Ramadoss welcomed the release of the prisoners and alleged that they had undergone inexplicable torture at the hands of police in Andhra Pradesh and dubbed the cases against them as foisted and false.

Last year, Jayalalithaa had written to her Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu, seeking legal assistance for Tamil prisoners held in connection with red sanders smuggling, considering their indigence.

She had also sought legal steps for bail to prisoners who were in various jails for more than 90 days without chargesheets being filed against them.

A total of 312 petitions seeking free legal assistance were procured from relatives of those in prison by district collectors and it was sent to Andhra Pradesh Legal Services Authority by its counterpart here on October 29, 2015.

Subsequently, a legal team headed by two Tamil Nadu government advocates were sent to Andhra Pradesh for securing bail to those facing charges related to red sanders smuggling. An amount of Rs eight lakh was allotted by the government as advance for legal expenditure. As many as 172 Tamil prisoners received bail last year.

( Source : PTI )
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