Rajitha Senaratne remanded until December 30th

Rajitha Senaratne remanded until December 30th

Rajitha Senaratne remanded until December 30th

Written by Staff Writer

27 Dec, 2019 | 10:12 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Former Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne has been remanded until December 30th. The Colombo Crimes Division informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate Salani Perera that the former minister was arrested at 2:10 this afternoon.

They requested the court to remand Rajitha Senaratne as releasing him on bail as it would hinder further investigations. Colombo Additional Magistrate Salani Perera today visited Rajitha Senaratne this afternoon at a private hospital in Narahenpita where he was receiving treatment.

The additional Magistrate who remanded the former minister ordered that he may receive further treatment with the presence of Prison Department officials. Meanwhile, MPs and relatives of Dr Rajitha Senaratne visited him at the hospital today.

Warrants were issued to arrest the former minister on December 24th with regard to a media briefing convened to speak about white vans during the run-up to the presidential election.

White van media briefing suspects further remanded

Meanwhile, the 2 suspects who were previously remanded in connection to the white van media briefing were produced in court today. Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne ordered the Attorney General’s Department and the Criminal Investigations Department to conduct a proper investigation and present facts to the court, as legal action cannot be sustained on the facts that have so far been presented to the court.

Athula Madanayake and Sarath Kumara who were arrested in connection to the white van media briefing were produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate today. President’s Counsel Wasantha Navaratne Bandara who appeared on behalf of the suspects inquired as to if a complaint had been lodged by the aggrieved party.

The Magistrate stated that the court does not see a requirement for the aggrieved party to file a complaint. The Magistrate questioned the Attorney General’s Department as to if action can be maintained against the suspects on charges of murder, kidnapping, and robbery.

Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peris said that a case cannot be maintained under those charges. Thereby the magistrate ordered the Attorney General’s Department and the Criminal Investigations Department to conduct investigations and file proper charges against the suspects.

The counsel for the defendants stated that the same charges that were filed against the two suspects have been filed against Dr Rajitha Seneratne. The Magistrate again ordered the Attorney General’s Department to file the relevant charges according to the proper procedure.

The motion filed by the attorney’s representing Dr Rajitha Seneratne, requesting the warrant issued for his arrest to be withdrawn was rejected by the Magistrate who added that it was filed according to the proper procedure. The case will be taken up for hearing on January 6th.

The Magistrate ordered the Criminal Investigations Department to file proper charges on that date.

Political Reaction to Rajitha’s arrest

Minister Wimal Weerawansa noted that their government did not appoint a new attorney general or an acting IGP. He said the judges were posted by the previous administration are still there and that is a law enforcement institution. He added that they will examine the complaints that they receive, and act accordingly if there are any justifiable reasons. He said now when a court examines an allegation against them, and issue a warrant to arrest them, that court is no longer independent.

However, the minister noted that when they are released on bail, the court is once again independent. He pointed out that he was arrested for abetting the misuse of state vehicles and was held in remand custody for three months, but even until today, no case has been filed against him. He noted that they have only presented a B report.

Speaking about the arrest UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra noted:

“In 2014 during the run-up to the 2015 presidential election, a child comes and says that Maithripala Sirisena kidnapped his mother, do you remember that? Then there was another advertisement that was aired on national television, where a mother whose son maintained relations with the daughter of Maithripala Sirisena said that her son was killed by Maithripala Sirisena. You might remember all of those. Those were very serious personal allegations. Although I may have political differences with Maithripala Sirisena, he could have taken action against these two serious allegations, we do not know if they are true or false but he could have filed legal action against both of them and locked them up. But he didn’t do it, did he? Verbal attacks are a common occurrence on the political stage. Also, who are the Ministers who are advising the President and the Prime Minister to arrest certain individuals? This is totally an action seeking for revenge.”

State Minister of Investment Promotions Keheliya Rambukwella noted that a number of such court cases were even filed against them, however, they never pleaded before the leader of the party because they knew if they had not done anything wrong, there is no reason to be afraid to come before the law. He added that they did not give judgments from Temple Trees, never called upon those in the magistrate courts, attorney generals department or the commission appointed to investigate fraud and corruption, and requested to arrest or issue warrants to arrest certain individuals.

State Minister Gamini Lokuge also made comments to the media.

State Minister Gamini Lokuge: We are not going to say that Rajitha will be remanded, Champika will be released.

Journalist: You mentioned about Ravi.

State Minister Gamini Lokuge: No we did not say that Ravi will be arrested. There were allegations. When the no-confidence motion was brought, Ravi resigned. We didn’t say that Ravi robbed. They did. The Police and the Judiciary will decide on that. But Speaker Karu Jayasuriya should be more ashamed. During his time, people were remanded at even at 12 midnight. Karu Jayasuriya was fast asleep then. He has remembered democracy only now. He is a democratic citizen with the influence of Europeans and their money. The people will teach him a lesson at the next election.

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