CHENNAI: A Sessions Court in the city has issued a bailable warrant to the investigating officer (IO) in the 1986 Choolaimedu shoot-out case, in which Douglas Devananda, former Sri Lankan Minister, was the third accused.
According to prosecution, Douglas was the military wing commander of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF). He, however, quit the group subsequently and launched his own EPDP and joined the political mainstream in Sri Lanka in support of the Indo-Lanka accord.
The charge was that while he and other cadres were staying in a rented house in Choolaimedu, one of his men opened fire at some local people, killing Thirunavukarasu on November 1, 1986. The prosecution obtained permission from the court to split the case and proceed against Douglas as the rest of the accused had absconded. He co-operated with the trial considering his political status and his position as a minister in the Lankan government. He claimed that he was not present at the crime scene at the time of the shoot-out and arrived at the place much later.
Later, Douglas did not attend the proceedings and following the direction of the Madras High Court, the trial court declared him as a proclaimed offender. However, he appeared through video conference arranged at the Indian High Commission office at Sri Lanka for the trial, which began in 2016.
When the matter came up for hearing on Saturday, the investigation officer (IO) did not produce the prosecution witnesses before the court.
Taking serious view of the submission made by the Additional Public Prosecutor Prabhavathy that the police were not co-operating in the production of the prosecution witnesses for cross-examination and that the materials recovered in the case were also not produced before the court, the judge issued the bailable warrant requiring the IO to be produced before him on February 9.
Douglas was the military wing commander of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF). He, however, quit the group subsequently and launched his own EPDP and joined the political mainstream in Sri Lanka.