Serious concerns have been raised with regard to the conduct of the Attorney Generals’ department which resulted in Gotabaya Rajapaksa being granted a wide ranging interim relief, preventing his arrest from ‘any state officer’.
The case is set for objections by the state on July 17th and the next hearing is set for October 6th. However, no date has been given for counter objections by the Petitioner Rajapaksa. Under usual circumstances “final determination” of a Fundamental Rights Petition takes a minimum of two years due to procedural lags in the system.
Earlier the Colombo Telegraph reported that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was instrumental in preventing the arrest of Rajapaksa.
The actions of the AG’s department looked blatantly politicised during the regime of ‘de-politicisation’ and good governance, with the premier and the AG’s department acting hand in glove in order to protect the political interests of the latter.
The bench hearing the Petition seemed to have been ‘fixed’ with Sarath De Abrew whose conduct had been continuously questioned to the extent that there were no cases assigned to him for a long period while he was a Judge of the Court of Appeal, was a member of the bench.
Both Abrew and Eva Wanasundera the former Attorney General have been staunch supporters of the previous regime, with the only seemingly neutral judge Buwaneka Aluwihare opting to recuse himself from the bench.
Manouevirng the benches of the higher courts is a widespread practice among practitioners in Hulftsdorp, with instructing Attorneys and the registry of the higher courts playing a ‘behind the scenes’ role in ensuring that a case is called before a preferred bench, the Colombo Telegraph learns.
Furthermore, two out of the three lawyers, Romesh De Silva PC and Sugath Caldera have been avowed supporters of the United National Party.
Ali Sabry PC the former Lawyer of Rajapaksa was junior to De Silva during the hearing.
The Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that Deputy Solicitor General Arjun Obeysekara, willfully did not address the issue of interim relief and instead completely ignored the interim relief prayed for by the Petitioner.
Obeysekara had addressed the court on the legality of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), while the interim relief prayed for was “prevent his arrest” encompassing much more than what the Petition and De Silva supported yesterday.
The Colombo Tepegraph learns that while De Silva was addressing issues on the legality of the FCID and on the innocence of Rajapaksa with regard to the Lanka Hospitals share transaction, MiG Deal among others, Obeysekara failed to respond to any of them.
The Colombo Telegraph earlier reported that the Interpol had informed the Lankan authorities that a Company which came into the spotlight after the MiG Deal was highlighted did not infact exists.
Colombo Telegraph learns that none of them were brought to the attention of court, while the Petitioners only relied on material available through the media, including articles published by the Colombo Telegraph.
“The Lawyer for the Attorney Generals didnt event touch on the magnitude of what was being asked. He didnt even ask court to confine it to “arrest by the FCID”. Instead he spoke of the legality of the FCID, when the entire country knew that he was seeking an interim order to prevent his arrest” an observer told us.
The Colombo Telegraph also learns that despite having being given the file pertaining to the case days prior to yesterdays hearing, the Lawyer had not been able to distance the IGP from the statements made by Rajitha Senaratne.
De Silva had told court that the National Executive Council had ordered the arrest of Rajapaksa in February citing an article in the Dinamina newspaper.
“The National Executive Council completely denied what the Dinamina had reported on the very next day. It was flashed across every newspaper. Not a word of this denial was spoken about by the AG’s. Instead all that was said was that they cannot take responsibility for the statements made by the Minister, which is nonsense. The denial by all members of the NEA especially that of Anura Kumara Dissanayake should have been brought before court” our source said.
The fact that Rajapaksa had not been arrested four months since the publication of the article, is enough evidence against the assertion that Senaratne’s statement will influence the investigators.
The Colombo Telegraph learns, that the basis of the Petition was that Rajapaksa would at all times make himself available for questioning, and that he would not influence the investigations in any way.
Rajapaksa had asked for the interim order preventing his arrest, based on the above two facts.
However, the Colombo Telegraph and every other institute and institution in the country and globally is aware that the entire state machinery is still run by lackeys of the Rajapaksas.
“This man has been accused of whitevanning. 13 Navy persons have been arrested as of now with regard to abductions. The AG’s department had access to all this information. Isn’t it laughable to think that he cant influence investigations when the many of those being investigated are still filled with those who Rajapaksa appointed?. Couldn’t they have brought this to the notice of court, at least for the sake of argument?” we were asked.
Earlier Navy persons attached to the East were arrested for abducting youth on the orders of Rajapaksa, while Minister Mervyn Silva went on record and and complained to the Criminal Investigations Department regarding Rajapaksas involvement.
The Colombo Telegraph was told that none of the above were brought to the notice of court and instead the Attorney Generals department argued only on the legality of the gazette establishing the FCID and the procedure of arrest of a person.
The wide ranging order necessarily means that Rajapaksa could not be arrested by any arm of the state for any complaint and is not confined to investigations carried out by the Financial Crimes Investigations Division.
A very high ranking source from the AG’s department speaking on anonymity due to personal reasons, told the Colombo Telegraph that the actions of the department in the case is a clear indication of the extent of politicisation of the department under the new ‘good governance’ regime. The source said that DSG Obyesekara had been reluctant in undertaking the case for reasons best known to him but was compelled to by the powers that be.
An observer said that the people who voted for this government and those who didn’t are not calling for the arrest of the former Defence Secretary and instead is fully supporting of the move to implement the law as it should be. But there is serious concern regarding how ‘these well mannered gentlemen pawn their integrity’.