Tamil actor gets five-year RI

 A Tamil television serials actor Devanand was on Monday sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment for abetting the suicide of a popular young TV star Vaishnavi in Chennai.

Judge R Sethumadhavan of a Special Mahila Court here convicted and sentenced Devanand on prosecution charges under IPC Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 306 (abetment to suicide).

 The budding television star Vaishnavi was just 20 years old and already a name to reckon with on the small screen, having acted in several Tamil serials like ‘Anni’, ‘Muhurtham’ and ‘Malargal’, among others. She was also a popular anchor for a ‘SUN TV’ comedy programme called ‘Kondattam’.

Vaishnavi was apparently under acute emotional stress when she committed suicide at her Anna Nagar residence in the city in April 2006, when her other family members were away. Her father was shocked to find Vaishnavi hanging from the ceiling fan.

The actress’ father in his complaint to the police had held Devanand responsible for the extreme step that Vaishnavi had taken. A few days after the tragedy, the actor was arrested by police. They intensely probed the case after public pressure was reportedly brought to bring the culprit to book.

Vaishnavi and Devanand were reportedly good friends as the latter was her co-star in two serials before her death, including one called ‘Manaivi’. Their close relationship is believed to have begun on the sets of that popular TV serial, but after some time misunderstanding had cropped up.

Devanand, though already married with a child, had allegedly promised to marry Vaishnavi but later allegedly backed out, sources close to the television industry said. For the young actor this sudden emotional stress in their relationship is believed to have led her to the extreme step.

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