Financial crimes suspects to face direct indictment
Up to now, the suspects were arrested by the police FCID after inquiries and were produced before court. With the new move, the suspects will only be arrested after being produced before court, highly placed sources of the Attorney General’s Department told the Daily News.
The new development comes in the wake of the stay order issued by the Supreme Court on May 13, preventing the arrest of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Following the stay order, there was confusion among legal circles whether the FCID would be able to arrest suspects in connection with investigations.
The Supreme Court issued an interim order preventing the arrest of former Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The order is effective until the petition filed by him is determined.
The Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the FR application filed by Rajapaksa and issued this order. The petition will be taken up before the Supreme Court on October 6. The respondents were also ordered to file objections on or before July 7 with counter objections to be filed within six weeks beginning July 7.
The two-member Supreme Court Bench which issued this order comprised Justices Eva Wanasundara and Sarath de Abrew.
The sources from the Attorney General’s Department said the main suspects of the investigation involving the distribution of sil redi ahead of the last presidential election are likely to be indicted in high court soon. It was alleged that nearly Rs. 620 million has been siphoned off from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to distribute sil redi among Buddhist devotees four days ahead of the presidential election.
“There are different schools of thought on the matter. Some argue that the stay order issued by the Supreme Court does not make any impact on other arrests made by the FCID. But, by indicting directly in the High Court the anti-corruption authorities can circumvent whatever legal barriers concerning the arrests,” a senior official of the Attorney General’s Department told the Daily News.
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