Key witness claims he was threatened | Daily News
Alleged Extortion case filed against Prasanna Ranatunga

Key witness claims he was threatened

Demanded rest of the money in land deal

Businessman Gehard Mendis, 74, a key witness in the alleged extortion case filed against three accused including Gampaha District Parliamentarian Prasanna Ranatunga and his wife yesterday informed Colombo High Court that Prasanna Ranatunga while he was serving as the Western Province Chief Minister in 2015 had threatened him over the phone demanding the rest of the money involved in a land deal.

The Attorney General (AG) had filed indictments against former Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, his wife Maureen Ranatunga and another person on the charge of threatening a businessman demanding the rest of money out of Rs.64 m.

When the case came up before Colombo Chief High Court Judge Lalith Ekanayake, the witness said Prasanna Ranatunga gave him a telephone call demanding him to pay the rest of the money involved in a land located in the Meetotamulla area.

The witness said he purchased a 2.2 acre land in Meethotamulla and he sought former Chief Minister’s assistance to evacuate the unlawful occupants of that land and fill it with soil.

He further said the former Chief Minister, his wife along with two others had entered into an agreement with him and later Prasanna Ranatunga demanded from him Rs.64 million. He further said taking into consideration the influence exerted by first accused, a politician, he took measures to issue 11 cheques in order ensure his family’s security. He said he had paid Rs.15 million to the accused party but several cheques were dishonored due to insufficient funds in his bank account.

Prosecution evidence was led by Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige and Senior State Counsel Shavindra Wickrema.

President’s Counsel Anil Silva with counsel Mary Dickmon appeared for the accused.

Further trial was fixed for March 15.

On a previous occasion, the Colombo High Court decided to proceed the trial against Gampaha District Parliamentarian Prasanna Ranatunga and his wife in absentia of third accused Naresh Kumar Fareek who was evading courts from the beginning of investigations.

MP Prasanna Ranatunga and his wife are currently out on bail.

The Attorney General filed indictments on 15 counts against three accused Prasanna Ranatunga, Maureen Ranatunga and Naresh Kumar Fareek based on charges of committing offences during the period between April 6, 2015 and June 2, 2015.

In addition, the AG has named 65 witnesses and included 35 articles as Court productions against the three accused in this case. 


 

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