AG drops Public Property charges against Lalith Weeratunga | Daily News

AG drops Public Property charges against Lalith Weeratunga

 While filing amended indictments against former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita regarding controversial Sil Redhi distribution (fabrics used by devotees to observe sill) case, the Attorney General yesterday decided to drop charges which had been filed under the Public Property Act against the two accused.

However, Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige appearing on behalf of the Attorney General informed Colombo High Court that the case against the accused would be proceeded with under section 386 of the Penal Code for dishonestly misappropriating a sum of Rs. 600 million.

Accordingly, High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga fixed the case for trial on March 13.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita, in connection with criminal misappropriation of Rs.600 million belonging to the TRC funds during the 2015-Presidential Election campaign.

While making his dock statements, former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga had informed Court that it is unfair to frame charges against him under the Public Property Act since he had not benefited from the Sil Redhi distribution programme.

Lalith Weeratunga further told Court that he had to follow the orders issued by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the executive of the country.

Taking into consideration the facts, High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga had directed the Attorney General to consider the possibility of amending the indictments.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against the two accused on three counts of committing a criminal misappropriation of funds amounting to Rs.600 million at TRC while spending for a ‘Sil Redhi’ distribution program in contravention of the Telecommunication Act, No. 25 of 1991 Act during the period of October 30, 2014 to January 5, 2015.

The prosecutors alleged that the funds referred to had been remitted to a bank account maintained by the Secretary to the President.

The charges had been filed under the Penal Code and Public Property Act while listing 21 persons as the prosecution witnesses.

Former Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya and former President’s Coordinating Secretary (Religious Affairs) Ven. Vatinapaha Somananda Thera are among the persons who had been named as witnesses.

Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige appeared for the prosecution.

President’s Counsel Kalinga Indatissa with counsel Kanchana Rathwatte and Niroshan Siriwardena appeared for the accused.

 


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