The Madras High Court on Friday dismissed a plea by Veerasangili Kanniah Thanabalan (V.K.T. Balan), one of the accused in the attempted assassination of LTTE chief negotiator and political strategist, Anton Balasingham. V.K.T Balan appealed to quash the case on the grounds of a long delay.
Balan's council, K Elangovan, submitted that except for Balan, all other accused are either dead or absconding, that important documents relating to the case have still not been retrieved and that Anton Balasingham had since passed away. Elangovan also argued under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, Balan's right to a speedy trial has been infringed.
Countering the argument, government counsel P Kritika Kamal submitted that there are several witnesses who are alive and willing to testify, further highlighting that just because some of the accused are dead or absconding that does not mean the case can be squashed.
Justice PN Prakash ultimately sided with P Kritika Kamal, stating “In the circumstances of the present case, the prosecution cannot be quashed on the ground of delay. The loss of records also cannot be a good reason to quash a prosecution and that secondary evidence can be adduced in a case, where a document has been lost”. Justice Prakash also directed the XI Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Saidapet to complete the proceedings within three months.
“The death of Balasingham subsequently will not in any way ensure to the advantage of the accused and the attempt on his life can be proved through other witnesses available,” Justice Prakash added.
In 1985, as many as six people planned to assassinate Balasingham, placing high-power explosives with a timer device at his residence near Elliot’s Beach in Chennai. The bomb exploded, but no one was injured.
The CB-CID that took up the investigation had arrested Kandasamy, V.K.T Balan, Ranjan, Manavai Thambi, Radhakrishnan and Pavani.
Reportedly, Kandasamy, Rajanan and Pavani are absconding. Ranjan and Manavai Thambi have reportedly passed away. Leaving V.K.T Balan as the only accused available for trial.