Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris today terminated the proceedings of the Avant Garde case after the Criminal Investigations Department(CID) of police informed courts that it would not go ahead with the case under the instructions of the Attorney General.
The court has also lifted the order restricting the chairman of Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd Major Nissanka Senadhipathi from overseas travel.
Colombo Chief Magistrate issued the travel restriction order in January due to the ongoing investigations by the CID on Avant Garde’s floating armory maintained at the Galle Harbor.
According to Police sources the CID during their investigation had not uncovered any details that the Avant Garde had done anything illegal.
The CID had failed to find any evidence that Avant Garde had either sold arms to overseas terrorist groups and also had used the weapons for illegal purposes as alleged earlier.
When the case came into prominence , former Navy Commander Admiral (Retd) Somathilake Dissanayake had said that the floating armory was operated legally under the collective efforts of the defense sector of the Armory, the Sri Lankan Navy, Rakna Arakshaka Lanka (Pvt.) Limited, and Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd.
The use of the armory was authorized by the Ministry of Defence.
However, the case figured prominently in political circles with those in the present government accusing powerful figures in the former regime including former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa of illegal arms sale and other wrongdoings.
The former Defence Secretary was questioned by the CID over the issue and the court also had imposed a travel ban which had been later lifted.
Also the courts issued an order earlier giving permission to probe the bank accounts of several persons involved in Galle floating armory.
Meanwhile the cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had earlier claimed that the government was conducting investigations to either establish or dismiss suspicions of whether controversial Maritime Security services company Avant Garde has been supplying weapons to Nigerian terror group Boko Haram.
“We know that Avant Garde worked closely with the Nigerian Government and supplied them with arms. We are now examining the likelihood of Avant Garde having had dealings, including arms supplies, with Boko Haram” Dr. Senaratne had said earlier.
Meanwhile political circles today expressed surprise at the sudden decision to conclude the investigation.
A JVP parliamentarian reacting to the incident with a very obvious scoff said that the good governance has borne fruit.
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