March 6, 2016 01:25 am
Former Sri Lankan minister Douglas Devananda on Saturday visited the Indian High Commission in Colombo and took part in the trial proceedings of a nearly three decade-old murder case through video conferencing in which he is an accused.
Devananda, 58, the leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) and member of parliament, had declined to visit Chennai to stand trial, claiming he faced death threats from the LTTE.
The EPDP in a release said Devananda was present at the Indian High commission when four prosecution witnesses were cross examined. Further hearing was postponed for March 15.
A local court in Chennai on Monday had sent a letter of intimation to the Additional City Public Prosecutor stating that video conferencing arrangements have been made to conduct the trial of Devananda.
The trial in the case, in which Devananda is an accused, commenced on January 18 with the examination of Gurumoorthy, a witness in the case, by the Additional Public Prosecutor.
In 1987, Devananda and nine other Sri Lankan Tamils were allegedly involved in a shootout at Choolaimedu in Chennai in which a resident of the locality was killed. All accused were arrested but absconded after being released on bail.
A non-bailable warrant had been issued against Devananda who later became a minister in the Mahinda Rajapakse government.
The Madras High Court had on September 10, 2014, permitted Devananda to stand trial through video conferencing and ordered him to appear through the facility at the office of the High Commissioner of India in Colombo as and when required.