Lalith De Silva the former SriLankan Airlines Regional Manager to India who was convicted by the Metropolitan Magistrate Court of New Delhi, has submitted a request seeking directions against Colombo Telegraph for the removal of |its article published on the 15th of September 2021 titled “Dr. Sarath Paranavitane Supports SriLankan Airlines’ Sexual Abuse Convict“.
Colombo Telegraph has been reporting the ongoing cases in India against SriLankan Airlines and its Regional Manager to India, Lalith De Silva by obtaining information from its network and its own sources.
The said published story by Colombo Telegraph exposed how a convict has been avoiding his personal appearance in the Metropolitan Magistrates Court in Delhi regarding the sentencing of his conviction, whilst seeking shelter under the cover of a medical professional in Dr. Sarath Paranavitane.
Colombo Telegraph approached the Complainant’s Lawyer, Advocate Ajay Verma, regarding the status of the case, who said “The Hon’ble Judge has already passed the Judgement and convicted Lalith De Silva under Section 509 of Indian Penal Code in September 2020 and has been waiting to hear the arguments on Quantum of Sentence since 17.11.2020 and has asked the convict to personally be present before the Court so that the sentence can be awarded as per law.”
When asked about the information regarding directions against Colombo Telegraph, Verma confirmed that an application has been circulated by the counsel for the convict seeking directions not only against the Colombo Telegraph to remove the news article published on 15.9.2021, but has also sought directions against him and his client on false grounds to suppress the voice of the victim.
“This is not the first time that this convict has tried to crush the voice of the victim, as in the past he also threatened her to withdraw the case filed by her against the convict. The victim has been fighting for justice and for her honour for a long time. She will contest the application as per law,” Lawyer Verma went on to say.
As per the proceedings of the court dated 17.11.2020, it was found that due to travel restrictions, the convict did not appear in court and sought exemption and the case was adjourned to 18.3.2021.
On 18.3.2021, a final opportunity was granted to the convict for hearing on quantum of sentence, failing which he was warned for coercive action through the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India.
Thereafter on 17.08.2021 the Judge passed the following order:
“An application seeking exemption from personal appearance has been filed on behalf of the convict. Ld. Counsel for the convict has submitted that the convict is Sri Lankan National and has been residing there only. He has further submitted that on account of Covid-19, Travel and Visa restrictions are imposed by the office of DGCA, Government of India. He has further submitted that order of DGCA dated 30.07.2021 in support of his case that Scheduled International Commercial Passenger Services to and from India are restricted till 31.08.2021.
In view of the same, the exemption application moved on behalf of the convict is allowed. However, the concerned Investigating Office (IO) in this case is hereby directed to file a report dealing with the aspect, whether it is not completely possible to travel from Sri Lanka to India as in this case. After the accused was convicted, a number of exemptions have been granted to the convict every time on the ground of the same plea that the accused cannot travel from Sri Lanka to India in view of restrictions due to Covid-19.
The Investigating Officer in this case must file regarding official gazettes relating to the travel restrictions imposed by Government of India, from Sri Lanka to India.
On 7.9.2021 the Judge directed the Investigating officer to file his report dealing with the facts, whether flights are in operation between India and Sri Lanka for passengers and also to report whether it is possible for the convict Lalith De Silva to come to India from Sri Lanka.
The case was heard on 14.9.2021 and as per our sources in New Delhi, the convict has once again sought exemption from personal appearance after filing Dr. Sarath Paranavitane’s Medical Report regarding his travel.
In this historic case, where not only the SriLankan Airlines’ Regional Manager to India Lalith De Silva was convicted and awaits sentencing, even the national carrier that De Silva represented was also convicted and fined Indian Rs 50,000 for not adhering to Indian Law in providing employees in India with an Internal Complaints Committee as mandated under “Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition And Redressal) Act, 2013 hereinafter called “POSH Act”.
Lalith De Silva, who now appears to have exhausted all his options from avoiding being present in Delhi’s Court before Judge Shri Dev Saroha, Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi for sentencing, eventually turned to Dr. Sarath Paranavitane to provide him with a Medical Report stating that he is not fit for air travel.
Earlier, De Silva had also relied on circulars issued from the Civil Aviation Authority of India regarding air travel restrictions to India due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
However, with air travel coming back to normalcy De Silva’s next option was to turn to his Physician Dr. Sarath Paranavitane.
On the 14th of September 2021 the convict Lalith De Silva’s submitted Medical Report signed by Dr. Sarath Paranavitane stated that his patient Lalith De Silva has been under his care since January 2015 and had suffered two seizures last month on the 10th and 16th of August 2021, barely weeks before his sentencing was brought up last on the 7th and 14th of September 2021.
The Medical Report further stated De Silva has been directly under Dr.Sarath Paranavitane’s care along with Consultant Neuro-surgeon Dr. A.T. Alibhoy.
In conclusion the Medical Report of which Colombo Telegraph does have a copy of, stated that “The specific reasons for frequent, unexpected occurrences of seizure attacks is inconclusive and requires further extensive tests and continuous monitoring of Mr. De Silva’s medical condition. Based on the above, I am of the opinion that Mr. De Silva should refrain from any type of strenuous activities and should not drive or undertake any forms of overseas travel or unnecessary stressful journeys as such would aggravate his condition where he could suffer irreparable damage. This situation must be reviewed in 6 to 8 months after further clinical examination. Currently he is unfit for any overseas travel which could aggravate his medical position to irreversible status.”
Whilst it is a common knowledge that doctors swear by a Hippocratic oath prior to commencing work as medical professionals, another Neuro – Surgeon in Sri Lanka when contacted by Colombo Telegraph speaking on condition of anonymity said “I find this quite amusing. Whilst Dr. Sarath Paranavitane’s opinion needs to be respected, there are hundreds of patients with far more serious medical complications that travel on far longer distances than from Colombo to Delhi for treatment. In this case and based on his medical reports which I have seen, there are prescriptive medications that could be administered if in the event he really wants to make his journey to Delhi.”
Colombo Telegraph during its investigations also came across another Medical Certificate signed by Professor Dr. Saman Gunatilake dated the 6th April 2021, which states that Lalith De Silva is also under his care and that he suffers from seizures and is advised to refrain from air travel for about six months until his medical condition stabilizes (Jacqueline Senanayake)