Investigations into the Avant Garde case

Investigations into the Avant Garde case

Investigations into the Avant Garde case

Written by Staff Writer

25 Oct, 2019 | 9:36 pm

Colombo (News 1st): The investigations into the Avant-Garde case and the incidents surrounding have come back into public discourse just weeks before the presidential election. The voice recording of Dilrukshi Dias, who was interdicted, and the statement made by former Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath were broadly discussed recently.

Deputy Solicitor General Wasantha Nawarathne Bandara was an official who leads the charge in the investigations conducted by the Attorney General’s department into the Avant-Garde case. He managed to steer the investigations to a decisive juncture.

However, was proper legal action filed based on the facts uncovered regarding the Avant-Garde incident?

President’s Counsel Wasantha Nawarathne Bandara made a special revelation to the media today (October 25).

“I had to come before you for one specific reason. Two individuals have made several allegations against me. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse has made a statement regarding the Avant-Garde case to the Divaina Newspaper on the 6th of October 2019, that drafts were made for the arrest of 8 suspects including Gotabaya Rajapakse and they were signed by the Solicitor General at the time Wasantha Navarathne Bandara without the knowledge of the Attorney General. This is a blatant lie. I see this as a statement made by a political opportunist who is trying to get some positions. At the time the head of the criminal unit was Suhada Gamlath.  He handed over the Avant-Garde case file to me and said ‘this is a serious crime’ and asked me to make sure to punish these people. I looked into the matter and handed over my first report to the Attorney General at the time. I submitted this report to Solicitor General Suhadha Gamlath so that it could be sent to the Attorney General through him. In this report that I sent to the Attorney General, there are 5 suspects. This includes Gotabaya Rajapaksa, additional secretary Jayarathne, and Palitha Fernando and I had recommended that they should be charged for aiding and abetting Senadhipathi and Manjula Kumara Yapa to commit this crime. Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa had said multiple times that he was the person who saved Gotabaya Rajapaksa when he was about to be arrested. What power does the Justice Minister have to interfere in the activities of the Attorney General? The Minister of Justice cannot interfere like that. The Attorney General’s department is an independent institution. According to usual practice, the person who prepares this report is the one who has to make the final decision. But when I filed this report I did not get it back. The Attorney General appointed a committee to present their opinion on the report prepared by me. This committee completely agreed with my recommendations. If there had been any irregularities that had taken place why didn’t the Minister of Justice speak about it in parliament before? Why is he speaking about this now just weeks before a presidential election? A group of honest officials at the Criminal Investigations Department carried out invetigations into the Avant Garde case. One official told me that they had asked him to delay this as much as possible and promised him a bribe of Rs. 80 million for it. Now after all of these people were released, these honest officials came to me with tears in his eyes and said that a leading businessman called him and told him that they paid Rs 260 million to the Attorney General’s department and got the job done. Attorney General Yuwanjana Wijayatilake must release a statement on this incident and explain why these suspects released, despite my recommendation and despite those three officials approving my recommendations. A presidential commission should be established and this entire incident should be investigated. How did the defendants in this grave crime escape these charges?”

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