OF the 41 people named in the SIT chargesheet, the ongoing trial in the designated TADA court in Madras involves only 26. Among those accused is LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran and two senior LTTE leadersPottu Amman and Akila. The three are listed as absconders.
At one point, India tried to pressurise the Lankan authorities to extradite Prabhakaran but nothing came of it. Ten of those accused, including those in the squad that carried out the killing, are dead. This leaves on trial only those with a relatively marginal role in the killing.
There has been inordinate delay in the trial itself. It took a year after the assassination for the SIT to file its chargesheet on May 20, 1992. The preliminary trial began a year later and the actual trial had to wait till January 19, 1994.
In the Indira Gandhi assassination case, the final judgement was made within three years. Here, the trial may be further prolonged as Judge Siddick of the designated court has been promoted to the Madras High Court bench. It will take a while for the new incumbent to familiarise himself with the nuances of the tricky and complicated case. As things stand, it will take at least another year for the completion of trial.