The trial against former minister Douglas Devananda, the prime accused of a murder in Chennai in 1986, commenced yesterday (18) in Chennai.

The case was taken up before IV Additional Sessions Judge M. Shanthi at the Madras High Court.

According to reports, the trial commenced with the examination of a witness named Gurumoorthy by Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) Prabhavathi. The trial was postponed till February 1 for further action.

The sessions court had issued summons to 18 witnesses to appear before the court on January 18, 2016, for examination.

Members of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), headed by Devananda at the time, were allegedly involved in a shootout in Choolaimedu on Diwali eve in 1986, which resulted in the death of a a city resident.

Devananda was arrested along with nine others and was later released on bail. The suspects then absconded following which the court issued non-bailable warrants (NBW). However, the NBW was later withdrawn.

The prosecution last month sought to split the trial and hold a separate trial against Devananda, which was allowed by the IV Additional Sessions Judge Shanthi.