Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday told Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda, who filed an anticipatory bail petition in connection with a 1986 murder case, to approach the trial court here to recall the non-bailable warrant against him.
In his petition, Douglas claimed that he was covered by immunity offered as part of 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan accord. After being enlarged on bail that year, he was 'expatriated' to Sri Lanka and believed the case had been dropped and there was no residence in India for him after that.
When the matter came up, Justice S Nagamuthu said, "Since it is a serious crime, I am of view that anticipatory bail can not be granted at this stage, that too when a non-bailable warrant has been issued against the petitioner".
Douglas in his petition last month had submitted that he was ready to face trial and abide by any condition imposed and he would appear before the court whenever required.
He last year filed a petition challenging the 1994 proclamation order pending in the lower court.
The court than ruled that Douglas was not pronounced as a proclaimed offender in connection with the case and directed him to seek anticipatory bail with a direction to approach the trial court to recall the NBW against him by showing sufficient reason for non-appearance.
Police also had filed a detailed counter wherein it was stated that the minister was proclaimed offender a non-bailable warrant issued by a lower court in 1987 is still pending against him.
The Judge pointed out that the remedy for the minister was to approach the trial court for recall of the warrant.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted he did not press the petition and sought liberty to work out remedies before the trial court. He also made an endorsement to that effect.
Recording the statement made by the minister's counsel The Judge said "in view of the endorsement made by the counsel for the petitioner, this criminal original petition is dismissed as not pressed".
"However liberty was given to the minister to approach the trial court," the Judge said.
The minister's visit to India as part of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa-led delegation in June 2010 had triggered a controversy after a pro-LTTE group filed a petition seeking his arrest.