Former State Minister and Jaffna District Parliamentarian Vijayakala Maheshwaran arrested for allegedly exciting or attempting to excite disaffection through a controversial statement in Jaffna was yesterday ordered to be released on bail by Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.
Accordingly, the suspect was ordered to be released on a surety bail of Rs.500,000 by Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake. Parliamentarian Vijayakala Maheshwaran was arrested by the Organized Crimes Prevention Division for allegedly committing offences under Section 120 of the Penal Code.
Addressing an event held at the Weerasingham Hall in Jaffna on July 2, the former State Minister had allegedly said she would like to see the resurgence of the LTTE.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Kamal Silva appearing for the Organized Crimes Prevention Division informed Court that the prosecution would not object to the release of the suspect on bail. The Chief Magistrate queried as to why the police were not objecting to bail while seeking an order to remand the suspect through a further report.
In reply, DIG Kamal Silva informed that there is no reason to raise objections for bail in terms of the Bail Act and no evidence to prove that she evaded courts being a Parliamentarian. DIG Silva further informed court that the Police have concluded investigations into the incident and sought the Attorney General’s advice regarding the incident. The Attorney General had instructed to institute legal action against the suspect under section 120 of the Penal Code.
Section 120 of the Penal Code states ‘attempts to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the People of Sri Lanka, or to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of such People, shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.’
Meanwhile, the Attorney General had decided to take legal action against Vijayakala Maheshwaran under Article 157/A (3) for alleged violation of the provisions of the Constitution.
On July 6, the Chief Magistrate’s Court issued an order directing several media institutions to produce their unedited video footage and paper articles pertaining to this controversial statement. Filing a ‘B’ report regarding this incident, the Organized Crimes Prevention Division alleged that the former State Minister could be charged under the offences that appear to have been committed under Section 115 and 120 of the Penal Code, violating the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and provisions stipulated under Article 157A of the Constitution. Article 157A of the Constitution provides Constitutional provisions for prohibition against the violation of the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
Article 157A(1) of the Constitution cites that no person shall, directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.
The Organized Crimes Prevention Division informed court that Police have commenced investigations into this incident pursuant to a complaint made by Sinhala Ravaya General Secretary Ven. Magalkande Sudaththa Thera. State Minister of Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheshwaran decided to temporarily resign from her ministerial portfolio following a huge outcry in the country.
President’s Counsel Anil de Silva with Senior Counsel K.V. Thavarasa appeared for the suspect.