CHENNAI: Sri Lankan Minister Anandan alias Douglas Devananda has moved the Madras High Court seeking to set aside an order of 1994 declaring him as a ‘proclaimed offender' in a Chennai murder case.
In his petition, Mr.Devananda (55) said the alleged offence took place on November 1, 1986 at Choolaimedu here.
The allegation was that he and the other accused, who were also Sri Lankan Tamils, had a quarrel with the local people on Deepavali day and one individual, Thirunavukkarasu was killed when he was fired at. Charges were framed on January 30, 1987 by XVII Metropolitan Magistrate.
Subsequently, the case was committed to IV Additional Sessions Court. The accused were arrested and enlarged on bail.
They were absent before the trial court. Hence, they were treated as absconding accused and declared proclaimed offenders and an order to this effect was passed on June 30, 1994.
He said the trial court failed to see that there was an agreement between Sri Lanka and India dated July 29, 1987. Prior to that, Sri Lankan Tamils, especially those belonging to various Tamil organisations residing in India, were expatriated to Sri Lanka to arrive at a peace agreement between the two countries.
The petitioner was one such person. After he was enlarged on bail, he was expatriated to Sri Lanka for which he had no records. Therefore, he genuinely believed that the case against him had been dropped. He had no knowledge of the case after the 1987 agreement and after his expatriation to the island nation.
The trial court failed to see that the Aminjikarai police Inspector's report that the petitioner along with the other accused were absconding and concealing themselves was baseless. There was no place of residence in India for the petitioner after his expatriation. Therefore, on the basis of the report, no proclamation order could be passed.
‘No publication made'
The order of the trial court asked the accused to appear before the court or before the Aminjikarai Inspector on or before August 28, 1994 and that the proclamation should be published in one Tamil daily newspaper and an English newspaper as per the Cr.P.C. However, no such publication was made.
Mr.Devananda said he was now a Cabinet Minister in Sri Lanka and was willing to abide by any condition, including that he appear before the trial court and face trial. Therefore, the proclamation order should be set aside.
Justice C.T.Selvam before whom the matter came up on Friday, adjourned the matter to August 16.