By Lakmal Sooriyagoda
While rejecting the anticipatory bail plea filed on behalf of former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Deyata Kirula National Exhibition 2013, the Colombo Fort Magistrate observed that public displeasure could be created if he granted anticipatory bail over a fraud that took place at a nationally important exhibition which was attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
The Magistrate Thilina Gamage further observed that the arresting the suspect Kanthi Gunawardana an Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology is up to the police even without a warrant.
On 4 April, the CEO Deyata Kirula National Exhibition Kanthi Gunawardana filed an anticipatory bail application in Court to pre-empt the possibility of her arrest over charges levelled by the CID.
The Magistrate further observed that it is clearly visible the contract relating to the construction of temporary toilets had been given to a close relative of the petitioner and the company seems to be set up in concurrent with the Deyata Kirila Exhibition.
State Counsel Samantha Perera appearing for the prosecution told Court if Court granted anticipatory bail for the petitioner the trustworthiness of public towards the judiciary could be lost and he read out an Indian High Court judgment regarding the anticipatory bail.
The State Counsel further told Court that the petitioner of the anticipatory bail plea had alleged to have committed an offence which comes under Public Property Act and there is no legal validity for seeking anticipatory bail under the provisions of the Bail Act.
Meanwhile, President’s Counsel Shanaka Ranasinghe denied the fact that his client had committed a massive fraud as alleged by CID and stated his client had done all transactions in accordance with the state monetary regulations with the approval of other officers. He further said his client was filing this application in accordance with Section 21 of the Bail Act.
In this case, the complainant alleged that the contract relating to the construction of temporary toilets had been given to a private company without the approval of the PTEC by the CEO of the Deyata Kirula Exhibition 2013 and thereby made an additional payment of Rs.1.7 million to the contractor. The complainant further alleged that the suspect had made other payments amounting to Rs. 12 million, Rs. 11 million and Rs. 255,000 for a reading room, a canteen and for flower decorations respectively at the Deyata Kirula Exhibition site.