Dirty tricks and high stakes political gamesmanship took centre-stage at the Supreme Court when former Navy commander Wasantha Karannagoda’s fundamental rights petition to prevent his arrest by the CID in the controversial kidnapping and murder case of 11 youths came up for support before a bench of three judges last night.
The court granted final relief after several hours of hearing preventing Karannagoda’s arrest or being taken into custody despite the AG officially announcing that indictments will be framed against the former Navy Commander for his role in aiding and abetting the murder of 11 young men abducted by a ring of naval personnel involved in a ransom racket.
President’s Counsel Romesh De Silva who has become the lawyer of choice for suspects trying to prevent their arrest by law enforcement agencies investigating corruption and violent crimes kicked off his submissions in the Supreme Court on Thursday morning directly accusing the Attorney General of currying political favour in seeking Karannagoda’s arrest.
“It is well known that the Attorney General and the Solicitor General have met the President and asked to be promoted to this very court,” De Silva PC claimed in open court as officials causing ripples in the court room.
Legal observers analysed that the remark – reiterated several times – was a badly disguised attempt to prejudice the bench headed by SC Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare.
Justice Aluwihare is a contender for the position of Chief Justice when the incumbent CJ Nalin Perera retires in April 2019. However, the Attorney General can be directly promoted as Chief Justice, overlooking more senior members of the Supreme Court if necessary. AG Jayantha Jayasuriya therefore is also a contender for the position.
“Minutes after that remark you realised that the attitude of the bench seemed to change” a senior lawyer who watched the proceedings told Colombo Telegraph.
This is an attempt to prejudice the judges, the senior lawyer analysed.
Additional Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne who appeared for the AG refused to respond to the charges but reiterated that the AG had no political interest in pursuing Karannagoda as a suspect. (By Ramani Bulathgamuwa)