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Aladi Aruna murdered

By P. Sudhakar

TIRUNELVELI, DEC. 31 . Former Law Minister V. Arunachalam alias Aladi Aruna (70) was murdered during a morning walk near Alangulam in this district today.

His friend, R. Ponraj (45), a schoolteacher, was also killed. The police have picked up Socrates, a TASMAC bar attendant from Aladipatti, who accompanied the two during the stroll. They have formed six teams to nab the culprits.

The police said a three-member gang selected the secluded Puthupatti Road on the Tirunelveli-Tenkasi highway for the strike.

They have recovered "some vital clues" including a mobile phone and a broken sickle from the scene. They said the killers used sickles to inflict five cut injuries on the former Minister.

A hole was seen just above his left chest and a similar injury was noticed behind the right ear of Mr. Ponraj, suggesting that the assailants might have used a country-made revolver or a pistol.

Though the police initially did not rule out the use of a firearm, they later said neither a pistol nor a country-made revolver was used.

As usual, the former Minister and former member of Parliament left his Alangulam house at 6.15 a.m. in a car, driven by Manivel of the same area. He spent a few minutes at his fuel station on the outskirts of Alangulam and drove further. He was accompanied by Mr. Ponraj, a postgraduate assistant in the West Tirunelveli Higher Secondary School at Nallur near Alangulam, and Socrates. After getting down on Puthupatti road, the three were walking for about 1.5 km, when the motor cycle-borne youths, aged between 20 and 30, intercepted them.

Mr. Aruna is survived by his wife, Kamala, five sons and a daughter.

Born to a farmer and owner of a provisions store, Vaithiyalingam Nadar, and Paththirakaaliyammal of Aladipatti, a village 30 km from here, Aladi Aruna, rose to occupy high government offices.

In 1962, he unsuccessfully contested in the Assembly elections from Alangulam as a DMK candidate. He was elected to the Assembly in 1967 and 1971.

He later joined the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and his mentor, M.G. Ramachandran, nominated him to the Rajya Sabha in 1984. During this tenure, he served as a member of the Joint Parliament Committee, which probed the Bofors scandal.

In 1996, Mr. Aruna was elected from his hometown, Alangulam, as a DMK candidate and he became Law Minister.

Revolt against DMK leadership

Mr. Aruna revolted against the DMK leadership on the eve of last parliamentary elections after he was denied ticket.

He charged the DMK supremo, M. Karunanidhi, with seeking to anoint his son as the next party president, and was suspended from the party. Mr. Aruna was one of the foremost Dravidian writers in English. He has written on varied subjects.

Southern region stunned:

Page 4

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