Lalith, Anusha appeals against conviction fixed for inquiry | Daily News

Lalith, Anusha appeals against conviction fixed for inquiry

Two appeal petitions filed by former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita challenging the judgment of the Colombo High Court were yesterday fixed for argument on March 8 by the Court of Appeal.

Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita were sentenced to three-year-rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court for misappropriating Rs. 600 million of the TRC.

When the two appeal petitions came up before the Court Appeal Justice Deepali Wijesundara, the Attorney General was directed to file his written submissions for the appeals on February 5.

On September 7, 2017, Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita were found guilty of misappropriating Rs. 600 million of TRC funds over Controversial Sil Redi (fabrics used by devotees to observe sill) distribution case.

Through their appeal applications, 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, 2017.

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

High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga had maintained in his judgment that the prosecutors have proven that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The High Court Judge maintained that the accused had committed the offence with to gain undue advantage to a particular candidate during the 2015-Presidential Election

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 fine, they will have to serve additional one- year imprisonment.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against Lalith Weeratunge and Anusha Palpita under three counts, in connection with a criminal misappropriation of Rs.600 million belonging to the TRC funds during the 2015-Presidential Election campaign. They were found guilty of all charges.

Counsel Kanchana Ratwatte with J. Ratnayake appeared for the accused. Senior State Counsel Jayalakshi Silva appeared for the Attorney General.


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