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Gota and six others indicted, released on bail


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Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa waves as he leaves court after receiving bail- Pic by Shehan Gunasekera

 

The three-judge bench of the Special High Court yesterday granted bail and released former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and six others, who were charged over misappropriating Government funds to build the D. A. Rajapaksa Memorial Museum.

When the case was taken up before a three-judge bench, the suspects including Rajapaksa were bailed on a cash bail bond of Rs 100,000 and two personal sureties of Rs 1 million each.

The three-judge bench, comprising Justices Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne and Champa Janaki Rajaratna, also ordered a fingerprint report of the suspects and imposed a travel ban on the defendants.

When the case was taken up, no lawyer appeared for the Government at first and the President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing on behalf of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa requested the Court to release his client if attorneys representing the Government were not present.

Chairman of the bench Justice Sampath Abeykoon said that since this is a criminal case, such orders cannot be made. Subsequently, a panel of lawyers including the Deputy Solicitor General Dileep Peiris appeared on behalf of the Government.

The three-member High Court bench handed over the indictments filed by the Attorney General to the defendants. President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva requested the court to release his client Gotabhaya Rajapaksa under the condition that he will appear before the court at any time.

Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris appearing on behalf of the Government informed the court that due to the fact that charges have already been filed against the defendants and the case is to be heard on a daily basis, the defendants should be released on bail.

Accordingly, the Chairman of the three-member Special High Court Judge, stated that there is no legal restrictions to release the suspects on bail.

The Judge further stated that since the suspects were high-ranking officials of the Government, it is expected that they would honour bail orders and appear at courts for trial.

The court then ordered the case to be summoned again on 09 October.

Former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and six others, including former Chairman and members of the Board of Directors of the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (LRDC) are charged with misappropriating Rs. 81.3 million of public money for the construction of the Medamulana DA Rajapaksa Memorial Museum during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. (ColomboPage)


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