Interim order on Gotabaya’s writ petition extended till 6 April

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday reserved its order for 5 April in respect of the writ petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa seeking an order preventing the FCID from acting on the Certificate (B Report) under the offences against the Public Property Act in the Magistrate’s Court against him.

The bench comprising justices P. Padman Surasena (CA President) and Shiran Gooneratne extended the interim order until 6 April.

Romesh de Silva PC, appearing for Rajapaksa, had in his submission contended that there was a purpose of mala fide (in bad faith, with intent to deceive) intention to arrest or remand the petition.

He had also said there was no application to stay the proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court and there was a mala fide intention to arrest him and his freedom was at stake.

He had stated the petitioner was asking not to be arrested or remanded but indicted if the Attorney General thought there were grounds. He submitted that the investigation had commenced in 2015 and no steps had been taken to indict him.

He contended that the construction of the D.A. Rajapaksa memorial and museum was a civil matter and there was no criminal breach of trust and the petitioner had no misappropriated money but they wanted to remand him on misappropriation whereas it was paid for with the money incurred as estimated by arbitration and the question of the quantum of estimate by the government valuer.

He added that there was no request made to stop the investigation or indictment and that the petitioner had instructed the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation Corporation to undertake construction from an outsider on contract.

He had submitted that the petitioner, who was the Secretary to the Defence and Urban Development Authority, had made a directive to the Board of the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation Corporation after having sought the approval of the board to pay and Rs. 10 million was paid to commence construction of the Late D.A. Rajapaksa Foundation where all the expenses would be reimbursed by various sources and he alleged this fact was suppressed.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne had maintained the interim order was obtained ex parte. He had said the petitioner in his petition did not ask the Court to prevent him from being arrested and remanded but to quash the ASP’s certificate submitted to the Magistrate preventing the FCID from acting on it under the Public Property Act. So it was not a fundamental rights violation and if so it should be referred to the Supreme Court.

He had also said the police recorded the first details on the complaint and submitted the report to the competent court, the Magistrate as well as the Attorney General for instruction so the Attorney General had not violated any law and there was no suppression of facts. There was no violation of the law, he had said.

He had said there was not only the petitioner but six others as well. He argued that the Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction.

The petitioner has stated that the D.A. Rajapaksa Foundation, a statutory body, entered into a contract with the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation Board for the construction of a monument in Madamulana, Weeraketiya. He also has stated that there was no written contract.

Rajapaksa in his application cited IGP Pujith Jayasundara, CID Director Shani Abeysekera, Financial Crimes Investigation Division DIG Ravi Waidyalankara, ASP Kamal Paliskara and the Attorney General as respondents.

Romesh de Silva PC with Ali Sabri PC and Sugath Caldera and Ruwantha Cooray instructed by Sanath Wijewardane appeared for the petitioner. Senior Deputy Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne with Deputy Solicitors General Thisith Mudalige and Dilan Ratnayake and Senior State Counsel Nirmalan Wigneswaran appeared for the respondents and the Attorney General.