Former Minister and UPFA Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa will be served indictment before the Colombo High Court by the end of this month, Attorney General’s Department sources said.
They also added that Rajapaksa and other suspects of the case will be served indictment under offences against the public property Act. Former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, former Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilaka, former Director General of the Divi neguma Department, R.R.K. Ranawaka and Divi Neguma Regional Director Bandula Thilakasiri are presently in remand in connection with alleged misappropriation of Divi Neguma funds. They will be produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate on May 20.
Rajapaksa and his officials were arrested on April 22 by the Police after being questioned for over 10 hours.
Investigations into the case were carried out by the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID).
The FCID charged the former Minister of misappropriating Divineguma funds for the election campaign of his brother, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa before the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court. He was also charged for spending public funds worth Rs. 70 million to hold a conference.
MP Rajapaksa, who left the country just after the Presidential Election on January 08, 2015 returned to the country in April, to support the investigations over allegations against him. While in the US, Rajapaksa stepped down from his position as the National Organizer of the SLFP, accepting responsibility for his brother’s defeat at the Presidential election. Rajapaksa was also the Manager of former President Rajapaksa’s election campaign.
After returning to the country he was welcomed by his supporters who gathered at the BIA. Upon his arrival, Rajapaksa told media that he had not robbed public money and all decisions that were taken during his tenure as Economic Development minister was for the betterment of the country.
Those backing a return of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa into active politics it appears is hitting all round the wicket to borrow from cricketing parlance. The highly choreographed political rallies, the spate of unruly demonstrations, the nocturnal ‘farce” in Parliament has now given way to the bizarre. We use the term bizarre in a relative sense to demonstrate the lengths to which the MR acolytes will go to, to make themselves heard, in the process throwing overboard all the principles they and their leader held fast to, not to mention the abject come down from their hitherto held stand that the West represented all that was inimical to Sri- Lanka, On Saturday MP Bandula Gunawardena a frontliner in the ‘Bring back Mahinda” campaign addressing a media briefing said that they were planning to go to the UN in Geneva to petition the World Body about the “Police state” that Sri Lanka was gradually being transformed into.
One cannot but be intrigued. During the past ten years of the Mahinda Rajapaksa rule one was given the impression that the UN was specifically set up to penalise Sri Lanka and haul it before the coals for alleged human rights violations and war crimes. The defeat of Sri Lanka at successive UN Human Rights Council sessions was attributed to the grudge harboured against Mahinda Rajapaksa for defeating the LTTE. It was also being painted as a body working at the behest of the Tamil diaspora by the likes of Wimal Weerawansa who too was a co-host at the press briefing.
Now to hear Bandula Gunwardena speak in this vein one cannot but be forced into believing that the former stalwarts of the Rajapaksa regime had undergone a dramatic metamorphosis in their thinking and attitudes and the UN is not the demon which it was once thought to be. Perhaps the MP would have been harking back to the days when his former boss made a beeline to the UN during the bloodletting in the late eighties with evidence of atrocities committed by the Lankan armed forces which nevertheless he later hailed as saviours of the nation.
The Pro- Rajapaksa MPs were also planning to take the Central Bank Bond Issue to the western embassies in Colombo according to Gunawardena. The MP certainly can’t be serious. Is the memory of Bandula Gunawardena and his ilk so short as to forget how the Rajapaksa Government in which the former was a Minister lambasted the then opposition for “running” to Western Embassies with its grievances? Was the MP hit by a serious bout of amnesia as not to recall how his comrade in arms Wimal Weerawansa staged a “farce” opposite the UN Embassy in Colombo to demonstrate his opposition to a UN appointed inquiry panel against Sri Lanka, until the arrival of his master on the platform to kneel before the dying man and rescue him with a sip of water.
Hasn’t the MP forgotten how the Government May Day celebration in 2011 was converted into one huge Ban ki Moon bashing exercise with all Government institutions forced to carry placards caricaturing the UN Secretary General. How receptive the MP imagines, the UN will be to a petition proffered by members of a Government who did not miss an opportunity to castigate the world body as an organisation doing the bidding of the US and the Western powers. With what gumption do these pro Rajapaksa MPs deign to go to the Western embassies in Colombo which were accused not so long ago of engineering the defeat of their former boss? And wasn’t the then opposition who took cases of human rights, corruption, Governance issues to the Western Embassies described as traitors and weren’t some of these Western Embassies accused of being pro LTTE and working towards regime change ?
It is indeed a supreme irony that Ambassadors of Western Embassies who were routinely summoned before the Foreign Ministry for alleged indiscretions on their part very soon having to receive a delegation led by the former Foreign Minister himself who at one time took exception to “interference” in the country’s affairs by Western Embassies and for entertaining opposition grievances.
Sri Lanka today has succeeded to a great extent in clearing all such past misgivings and suspicions. Foreign relations are certainly on a high at present as demonstrated by the reception accorded to President Maithripala Sirisena on his recent visit to Britain and also our Asian neghbours including China. Last week’s visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to the country too is a clear indication that the country’s hitherto strained relations with the West is on the mend. With the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime having already burnt its boat with the West in a relationship that was characterised by name calling it is very much doubtful if the Pro- Rajapaksa group will get to first base with its alleged grievances to the UN body or the local embassies. It certainly is a question of credibility –
(Lanka-e-News- 09.May.2015, 5.00PM) ‘The laws of the country and court orders cannot be allowed to be disdained or violated by anyone ‘ said the chief magistrate of Colombo Gihan Pilapitiya while ordering the police to immediately arrest and produce before court all the monks, parliamentary and provincial council (PC) representatives who defied the law and courts. The chief magistrate also expressed his bitter disappointment over the failure of the police to discharge their duties duly.
The judge made these adverse comments when the suspects involved in the protests staged on April 23 rd in front of the Birbery and corruption commission defying even a court injunction, were produced in court yesterday (08)
27 UPFA MPs including Dallas Alahaperuma, Bandula Gunawardena, Gamini Lokuge, Janaka Priyantha Bandara ,Sarath Weerasekera , Roshan Ranasinghe , Jayantha Kethagoda, Uditha Lokubandara ,Weerakumara Dissanayake and S.M .Chandrasena were produced before court and released on bail. The chief magistrate who did not wish to insult Buddhism though the monks by misbehaving did not show that concern for their religion ,permitted the robed monks to be seated on a bench . However the shameless political goons , the ex ministers , MPs and PC members who committed the criminal offence were put behind bars for about two hours until the bail conditions were fulfilled and they were released .
These suspects finally left the courts after spending two hours behind bars within the court . Those who witnessed this disgraceful spectacle said , these politicos are getting a foretaste of much worse punishment they deserve and are in store for them.
The suspects had to face delays when being released because the keys of the prison cage within the court was misplaced. Gamini Lokuge reportedly had fainted within the cage.
The chief magistrate said , it is a matter for deep regret that the suspect Priyantha Janaka Bandara who was serving as a magistrate in court being seen in the dock as an accused . Janaka Bandara was an erstwhile magistrate who was dismissed from the post based on irregularities committed by him .
The chief magistrate questioned the indicted monks , to what extent reciting pirith across the main road hindering the movements of the public is in accord with the Buddhist tenets and precepts ? while revealing to them that he is a Buddhist himself .
Kaduwela Magistrate, Additional District Judge Dhammika Hemapala yesterday ordered to re-remand former Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa until 7 May. Police are conducting investigations into the allegation that Basil Rohana …
…Rajapaksa had committed a fraud amounting to millions of rupees when implementing the compensation and gratuity programme of the Divi Neguma Development Department of the Ministry of Economic Development, along with three others. The other three persons remanded included former Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Development Dr. Nihal Jayatilleke, former Director General of Divi Neguma Department Ranawaka Arachchilage Amitha Kithsiri Ranawaka and Director of the Divi Neguma Community Bank Bandula Thilakasiri.
Investigations were initiated following a complaint made to the Financial Crime Investigation Department by Director General of the Divi Neguma Department, H. Sumanapala.
The suspects are accused of a financial irregularity in paying compensations and gratuity of the Divi Neguma Development Department, an irregularity in the housing project on behalf of Samurdhi beneficiaries as well as in printing five million almanacs instead of 1.5 million. Lawyer Anil de Silva told Court that his client Basil Rajapaksa is suffering from a severe heart problem. As doctors have prohibited Rajapaksa from climbing stairs, Silva requested the Court to allow his client to remain in an ambulance in the court premises.
Silva also requested the Court to release the suspects on bail as they had been in remand for over two weeks. The lawyers said the suspects only attempted to eradicate poverty in the country.
Attorney-at-Law U.R. Silva presenting court records on previous cases said that everyone including the FCID was being pressured to keep the defendants in remand prison as they are being manipulated by an outside force.
The Magistrate rejected the lawyer’s request to send Basil Rajapaksa back to the Merchant Ward of the Colombo National Hospital and Nihal Jayatilleke as well as Ranawaka to the Cardiology Unit and Thilakasiri to Ward No. 76. The Magistrate ordered that all suspects be examined by a doctor. He also ordered that all reports should be submitted to Court on 7 May and that medical reports should be handed over to the FCID.
(Lanka-e-News -09.May.2015, 10.00PM) The deposed deflated ex president Mahinda Rajapakse had instructed Dinesh Gunawardena M.P. to probe whether there is a possibility to raise a question of breach of parliamentary privilege before the speaker of parliament against the Colombo chief magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya , according to reports.
The UPFA MPs Dallas Alahaperuma , Bandula Gunawardena , Gamini Lokuge , Janaka Priyantha Bandara , Sarath Weerasekera ,Roshan Ranasinghe,Jayantha Ketagoda, Uditha Lokubandara ,Weerakumara Dissanayake and S.M. Chandrasena who were found guilty of contempt of court for not abiding by the directives of the court had expressed their grievances to Mahinda Rajapkse who by now is widely known as mentally moth eaten due to senile decay despite all the cosmetic display he puts on before the public to hide it . Mahinda despite his own embattled state with mounting accusations against him of embezzlements and corruption had tried to maintain his fast crumbling ‘hero’ image before his UPFA zeros , by giving the instructions noted in the foregoing paragraph to Dinesh Gunawardena.
These UPFA politicos have complained to Mahinda that the respect (if they have any ?) they deserve as parliamentary members and provincial council members were trampled by the Colombo chief magistrate in open court when they appeared in court , and therefore suitable action be taken since their parliamentary privileges have been breached thereby.
Dallas Alahaperuma had pointed out , when their group appeared before court , the attitude of the chief magistrate and detaining them in the prison cage of the court for two hours constitute a breach of privilege of the MPs , and therefore the chief magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya should be summoned to parliament and questioned.
Udaya Gammanpila had complained to deposed president that Gihan Pilapitiya has now become a stooge of the government (for taking action duly against the law breakers?). Hence a parliamentary action should be initiated to somehow displace him from his post . Measures must be taken to stage protests Island wide against Gihan Pilapitiya to achieve this goal , Gammanpila had further stated.
Mahinda Rajapakse of course having nothing better to do during these days , and with an idle mind that has turned into a devil’s workshop had agreed to focus on the future parliamentary action simultaneously with a poster campaign against courts