Tamil Diplomat

Douglas to face trial on January 18

Nearly after 28 years, the stage is set for the trial against former Sri Lankan minister Douglas Devananda in a murder case with a sessions court in Chennai issuing summons to 18 witnesses for their appearance before the court on January 18, 2016, for examination.

Allowing the petition filed by the prosecution, IV Additional sessions judge M Shanthi, split up the trial against Douglas Devananda and 8 other absconding accused in the 1986 murder case and ordered issuance of summons to 18 witnesses for examination on January 18.

As all the nine accused in connection with the Deepavali-eve murder in 1986 were absconding with non-bailable warrant pending against them, the prosecution has sought to split the trial and hold a separate trial against Devananda. Other accused will face trial as and when they are nabbed.

In 1987, Devananda and eight other Sri Lankan Tamils were involved in a shootout at Choolaimedu in Chennai, in which a resident of the locality was killed. Though all the suspects were arrested, they absconded after they were released on bail and NBWs were issued against them.

Later, denying that he was absconding, Devananda approached the Madras high court for cancellation of the NBW.  On September 10, 2014, he obtained an order from the high court permitting him to stand trial through video conferencing. Thereafter, additional city public prosecutor M. Prabhavathi filed the present petition, seeking to split the case and conduct trial. (  Deccan Chronicle )