Gota can be arrested on other alleged offences – SC

Gota can be arrested on other alleged offences – SC

  • Except those included in FR petition
  • The Court however bars IGP, CID, FCID from arresting him
  • Nelka Medagedera

The Supreme Court yesterday said that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa could be arrested if there were allegations except the ones included in the Fundamental Rights petition filed by him. The Supreme Court further said other than those respondents mentioned in the petition viz IGP, Director CID and Director FCID, other officials could arrest him.

The above statements were made by Justice Eva Wanasundara and Justice Sarath de Abrew with a view to clarify the interim order issued earlier preventing the arrest of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Thus, other than the allegations mentioned in the petition, namely, the Avant Garde floating armoury, providing aero planes to Mihin Lanka, transaction of shares of Lanka Hospitals and purchasing MIG aircraft. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa could be taken into custody for investigations into other allegations.

The Supreme Court further stated that the Interim Order given by the Court did not apply to other investigations which are due to be carried out against Gotabhaya Rahjapaksa.

The petition submitted by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was due to be taken on October 6. But in view of the motion submitted to courts by the Attorney General, the Supreme Courts called this petition yesterday.(June 8).

Moving the motion, the Attorney General requested the Supreme Court to explain under what legal circumstances or conditions, the Interim Order was issued by a Bench of two judges of the Supreme Court preventing the arrest of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lankan Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa (C) rides in a jeep with three forces commanders during a Victory Day parade rehearsal in Colombo on May 17, 2013.
Sri Lankan Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa (C) rides in a jeep with three forces commanders during a Victory Day parade rehearsal in Colombo on May 17, 2013.

Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda appearing for Attorney General, the IGP, Director CID, and Director FCID, told court that Gotabhaya Nandasena Rajapaksa through his petition had asked for relief on six issues.Explaining about the motion, Kodagoda submitted to court that due to the Interim Order, a number of issues had risen and the motion was meant to seek an explanation as to what legal circumstances led to the issuing of the Interim Order. Through this Interim Order, the Court has prevented taking any action by the IGP and four other senior officials in respect of four investigations conducted by the Police. Police are conducting investigations into the Avant Garde floating armoury, providing aero planes to Mihin Lanka,transaction of shares of Lanka Hospitals and purchasing MIG aircraft. Because of the Court Order, the IGP and around 84,000 policemen could not arrest the petitioner.

He said: there are two main issues propped up due to the Interim Order. One is that the Order is not very clear. Who is prevented from arresting the petitioner. The second is that, it is only on the four allegations that he has mentioned in his petition? Or is it on all allegations ? We need to get a clarification on these two points.

The Interim Order has thrust on four investigations. It is not clear how we are going to conduct investigations in view of the Court Order. If the steps taken in relation to the investigations carried out, that could turn out to be a contempt of court. Hence, the officers concerned are in a dilemma as to how they should conduct their investigations in good faith.

If someone comes before court and gets a Court Order to stop the investigations carried out in the country that could be a threat to good governance.

The petitioner for period of time was in possession of an elephant without a license. The Interim Order has prevented the wildlife officials from arresting him.

This Interim Order is not a permanent order. It is valid only until the petition is heard and concluded The case could be dragged on for years. The Interim Order has prevented the petitioner from being arrested on any allegation in the future. Even if he becomes a suspect in connection with a murder, he can not be taken into custody.

The second investigation against the petitioner is in relation to the purchasing of aeroplanes for Mihin Lanka. That investigation is not carried out by the Police, but, by officials of the Commission to Investigate into Bribery or Corruption. Th petitioner has not included the Commission’s Director or any other officials as respondents. The duties of those not included in the petition, those persons or institutions who have no say before courts, have been blocked by the Interim Order.

“I strongly believe that the Courts should always listen to both sides. Not only of the Rights of the petitioner, it should also give due consideration to the duties of the State Officials and good governance,”said the Additional Solicitor General.

Additional Solicitor General Kodagoda told Court that there was no intention of asking in what ever way from the courts to withdraw the Interim Order, but seek a clarification of the Interim Order issued by the Courts.

Romesh de Silva, PC appearing for Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told Court that nothing was unclear in the Interim Order issued by the Courts. He said that there was no need to come up with a ‘new idea’ as to explain the order. Such a request would bring the court into disrepute,” he added.

At this point the Courts wanted to know from K.Kanag Iswaran, PC appearing for the respondent Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe whether he has anything to say in this regard. He told Court that he totally agreed with the views submitted by the Counsel appearing for the Attorney General and that he had nothing to add.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa through his petition has requested Courts to take steps to prevent him from being arrested by the FCID or officials representing it.

The respondents in this case are Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Members of the Cabinet, Secretary to the President, the IGP, Director FCID, Director CID, Deputy IGP Ravi Waidaylankara and the Attorney General.

Justice Wanasundara expresses shock

Making a statement in Open Court yesterday, Supreme Court Judge Justice Eva Wanasundara said that she was shocked and saddened when false and unfounded allegations were directed against her over the Interim Court Order given preventing the arrest of former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

She made this statement when the motion tabled before court by the Attorney General seeking clarification on the Interim Order issued by the Courts.

She went onto say that the Courts arrived at the decision to issue the Interim Order only after considering the facts placed before courts. She said that she does not show favour to any cases come before her. But, after the issuing of the interim Order, for the first time in her 34 year carrier, she was subjected to pain of mind, mental agony, felt humiliated.

‘Many began expressing divergent views over the Court decision and that included fallacies as well,” she added.

She also said that times was allocated to to submit objections and the dates for that was decided in agreement with the Deputy Solicitor General who appeared for the Attorney General. The dates for the case to be taken up was decided based on the record book maintaining the dates of court cases.

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