Suspect remanded till Feb. 25 | Daily News
Illegal import of beedi

Suspect remanded till Feb. 25

Noordeen Razali Ahamed, who was arrested by the Customs Central Investigation officials over illegally importing 12 tonnes of beedi leaves, was yesterday remanded till February 25 by Colombo Additional Magistrate Lochana Abeywickrama.

The suspect had been released on bail, last Friday. When the case was taken up before court, yesterday, the magistrate said that she had inadvertently issued an order to release the suspect on bail.

According to the Customs Act, the Magistrate’s Court has no power to release a suspect regarding an offence where the fraud is over Rs.1 million, but the High Court has the power to grant bail, Customs officials said.

They said the total value of the consignment of beedi was nearly Rs.57 million, and that the tax fraud was nearly Rs.45 million.

Customs officials submitted a confidential report to the magistrate and informed court that they had already arrested five other suspects over the incident.

The officials said they recorded statements from the five suspects regarding the incident, and that the suspects had revealed information regarding the main suspect.

Customs officials said that if the suspect were to be released on bail, he would interfere with investigations and try to destroy evidence.

President’s Counsel Anil Silva, appearing on behalf of the suspect, said the magistrate had granted bail after considering the facts submitted by Customs officials, at that time.

He said cancelling the bail was not justified, and that there was no judicial power to cancel bail, on which grounds he requested that his client be granted bail.

The magistrate, however, ordered prison authorities to take necessary steps to bring the suspect to court on February 20.

The Magistrate then ordered Customs officials to expedite the investigations and submit a progress report on the next calling day.


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