Lalith, Anusha appeal petitions to be heard on October 10 | Daily News

Lalith, Anusha appeal petitions to be heard on October 10

Two appeal petitions filed by former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita challenging the judgement of the Colombo High Court, were yesterday fixed for October 10 by the Court of Appeal.

Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita had been sentenced to three years' rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court for misappropriating Rs. 600 million of funds belonging to the TRC.

When the two appeal petitions came up before the Court of Appeal, Justice Deepali Wijesundara and Justice Achala Wengappuli, the parties were directed to file their written submissions before October 5.

On September 7 last year, Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita were found guilty of misappropriating Rs. 600 million of funds belonging to the TRC over the controversial sil redi (fabrics used by devotees to observe sil) distribution case.

Through their appeal applications, the two accused-appellants stated that they were seeking the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal to review and set aside their conviction imposed by the High Court dated September 7, 2018.

In their petitions, the accused-appellants stated that neither Rs. 600 million nor a part of it were used by them for their personal gains. They further stated that the High Court Judge had given them a short period (13 days) to pay off the compensation.

While handing out a lengthy judgement, High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga had maintained that the prosecutors had proven the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The High Court Judge further maintained that the accused had committed this offence dishonestly with the intention of gaining undue advantage to a particular candidate during the 2015- Presidential Election.

While observing that a political motivation had led the accused to commit this offence, Lalith Weeratunge and Anusha Palpita were ordered to pay a compensation of Rs. 50 million each to the TRC in lieu of losses incurred contrary to the Telecommunication Act.

Each accused were further ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 2 million and in default of the payment of the fine, they will have to serve an additional one year's imprisonment.

 

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