Sessions Judge P Durga Prasad acquitted Mr Azhagiri and 12 others, including former Madurai Deputy Mayor Mannan, holding that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
Reading the operative portion of the judgement in a packed court hall, the judge said the case was foisted against Mr Azhagiri and others out of political vendetta.
In the normal course, the investigating agency would collect evidence before arresting the accused. But in this case, the accused were arrested and then the evidences were created. ''This is something peculiar'', the judge observed.
Mr Azhagiri and all the other accused were present in the court when the judgement was delivered this evening.
Mr Kiruttinan had served as Highways Minister in the Karunanidhi cabinet during 1996-2001. After the DMK came to power in 1996, Mr Kiruttinan, who also hailed from neighbouring Sivaganga district, was inducted into the cabinet in 1998.
He was returning from his morning walk, when a group of unidentified people hacked him to death, near his house.
Factional fueds in the party, during the organisational elections, were stated to be the reason for the murder Eds here pick up suitably from earlier series.
UNI XR-WS SG HT2034