BY K.S. Udaya Kumar
President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva PC who appeared for former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa submitted that the Special High Court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the action in the case where he is indicted with misappropriation in the construction of the D.A. Rajapaksa Memorial Museum at Weeraketiya.
All the accused including Rajapaksa and six others were released on bail in Rs 100,000 cash and two sureties in Rs 1 million each and their passports impounded when the case came up for hearing yesterday (10).The Judges said that if they needed to travel overseas they would need to get the permission of the court.
At the request of the defence Counsel the Court ordered the AG to hand over to the accused all documents in connection with the case. The Court ordered the case be called on the 9th of October in order to verify that the prosecution has handed over all necessary documents to the accused. Submissions on Jurisdiction would be thereafter.
The Bench, said that since the suspects were high-ranking high officials of the Government, it is expected that they would honour the bail order and appear in the Court for trial.
The Bench, comprising Justices Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijerathne and Champa Rajaratne also ordered a fingerprint report of the suspects.
However, the State was not represented by Counsel when the case was taken up.
Therefore, President’s Counsel de Silva, appearing for the defence, requested Court to release his clients based on the absence of the State’s lawyers.
However the Presiding Judge Sampath Abeykoon declined to do so. A short while later Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peries and State Counsel Udara Karunatilleke arrived in court.
Justice Abeykoon then told the State Counsel that proceedings at the court begin at 9.30 and that they should present in court at that time.
The State did not object to bail being granted.
The case was filed against Rajapaksa and six others by the Attorney General under the Offences against Public Property Act and the Penal Code on charges of abusing public property, over the alleged misappropriation of Rs 49 million to build the D.A. Rajapaksa Memorial Museum at Weeraketiya.
Romesh de Silva Presidents Counsel with Ali Sabry PC, Sugath Caldera, Sampath Mendis, Manjuka Fernandopulle, Ruwantha Cooray and Harith de Mel appeared for Gotabaya Rajapaksa.