Bail applications of Arjun and Kasun fixed for further submission in CA on 18 May

Friday, 30 March 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (29) fixed for 18 May for further submission on the Revision Bail Applications filed by Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. (PTL) beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius and its CEO Kasun Palisena.

The Bench comprised Justices P. Padman Surasena (President/CA) and Shiran Gooneratne.

Petitioners cited Financial Crime Investigation Department OIC, Director of the CID and the Attorney General and others as Respondents.

Petitioners Arjun Joseph Aloysius and Kasun Oshadee Palisena as well as former Governor of Central Bank Lakshman Arjun Mahendran and Perpetual Treasuries are suspects in an investigation with regard to the impugned issuance of Treasury bonds.   

Petitioners are seeking the Court of Appeal to set aside the order of the High Court of Colombo dated 9 March in which the High Court refused Notice and thereby affirming the order made by the Fort Magistrate dated 16 February in the proceedings, refusing the grant of bail and committing them to remand custody.

They state they were arrested and produced before the Magistrate’s Court of Fort on 4 February and committed to remand custody by the Magistrate’s Court of Fort on 4 February, 16 February and thereafter, at the behest of and/or on the strength of further reports filed by the Criminal Investigation Department, in connection with an investigation commenced upon a complaint dated 25 November 2016, made by the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Arjun Aloysius states although no prior notification had been made to him with regard to the said arrest, the Media had apparently been notified in advance in that regard, as evidenced by the heavy presence of media personnel and camera crew from the Sirasa media network in the vicinity of the residence of the Petitioner at the time of arrest, depicting the mala fides of the said Complainant FCID and the Director of CID in connection with the said arrest. 

He states the 4th Suspect Kasun Oshadee Palisena too had been arrested at or about the same time, and they were taken to the Criminal Investigation Department and statements recorded from them, after which, they were produced before the Residence of the Magistrate of Fort at approximately 10:30 p.m. on 4 February.

On the said date, i.e., 4 February, upon the Counsel appearing for the Petitioner and the 4th Suspect moving that the matter be called on the morning of 5 February, for making their legal submissions on behalf of the suspects with regard to their release on bail, the Learned Magistrate made order that the matter be called before the said Court on 5 February and committed the Petitioner and the 4th Suspect to remand custody. On 5 February, the Counsel appearing for the Petitioner and the 4th Suspect made their submissions before Court with regard to their release on bail including inter alia that the offences as stated in the said B-report/further report/s are not disclosed by the summaries of evidence recorded therein; that in any event no offence under the Offences against Public Property Act No.12 of 1982 was disclosed in the B-report or further report/s filed before Court ; the grant of bail to the Petitioner and 4th Suspect should be considered under the provisions of the Bail Act No. 30 of 1997; and they should accordingly be released on bail. He states that the purported remanding of him and Kasun Palisena on 5 February, notwithstanding the postponement of the order on the said bail applications made on behalf of the Suspects, and without any order being made on 5 February either allowing or refusing the their applications for bail, was manifestly illegal in as much as inter alia it was contrary to the provisions of the Bail Act No. 30 of 1997 read with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act No.15 of 1979, and violative of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed to the suspects under inter alia Articles 13(2), 13(4) and 13(5) of the Constitution. He states that inasmuch as the order on the grant or refusal of bail was postponed by the Magistrate on 5 February, she had no legal authority or power to commit the suspects to remand custody or to otherwise act in any way impinging on their personal liberty on 5 February and it was incumbent upon her on 5 February to preserve the status quo ante and ensure the personal liberty of the suspects, pending the delivery of her order on the grant or refusal of bail to them.

Petitioners state their rights were prejudiced and a failure of justice was occasioned by their purported committal to remand custody by the Magistrate’s Court of Fort on 5 February.  They state that on 16 February, the Magistrate made order refusing bail to them and committing them to remand custody.

Aggrieved by the said order of the Magistrate, the Petitioners preferred a Revision Application to the Colombo wherein they invoked the Revisionary jurisdiction.

They state that the High Court Judge delivered his Order refusing the issuance of Notice in the said Revision Application to the Respondents, thereby affirming order of the Magistrate’s Court of Fort in proceedings.

Being aggrieved by the said final Order of the High Court, they are seeking the Revisionary jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal.

Gamini Marapana PC with Navin Marapana appeared for the Petitioners. Senior Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda appeared for the Attorney General.