The Madras High Court on Thursday posted for February 21 final arguments and orders on a writ petition seeking a direction to the Union and State governments to arrest the Sri Lankan Minister for Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development, Douglas Devananda, in a murder case pending before a sessions court here.

In the public interest litigation petition filed through counsel, M. Radhakrishnan, the petitioner P. Pugalenthi, secretary, Tamil Nadu People's Rights Forum, here alleged that the Minister was involved in three criminal cases which were pending before Chennai courts.

Mr. Pugalenthi submitted that in June 1994, the Additional Sessions Judge, issued a proclamation warrant against Mr. Devananda treating him as an absconding accused in the murder case. The case, registered by the Choolaimedu police here, pertained to the killing of one Thirunavukkarasu in 1986.

Meanwhile, when the matter came up before a Division Bench comprising Justices K. Mohan Ram and G.M. Akbar Ali, Additional Solicitor-General of India M. Ravindran filed a communication from the Ministry of External Affairs (Legal and Treaties Division) that if Mr. Douglas Devananda was on an official visit/mission representing his country, he may be granted immunity from arrest/prosecution.

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