Why Defence Minister, Defence Secy not arrested? – counsel | Page 2 | Daily News
‘Avant Garde under Defence Ministry’

Why Defence Minister, Defence Secy not arrested? – counsel

Mahinda P.Liyanage, Galle Central Special Correspondent

Galle Chief Magistrate Harshana Kekunawela further remanded the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th suspects of the Avant Garde floating armoury case until August 23 and ordered that a complete medical report on the 7th suspect should be submitted to the court.

The further remanded suspects are the 4th respondent, former Chairman of Rakna Lanka Security Firm Victor Samaraweera, 5th respondent, retired Major General Palitha Waduge Piyasiri Fernando, 6th respondent, retired Major General Karunarathna Banda Adikari Egodawela and 7th respondent former Secretary of Police Commission Saman Disanayake.

Seventh respondent Saman Dissanayake was not produced before the magistrate and court was told that he was under medical treatment at the Sri Jayavardhanapura Hospital and, a medical report was submitted.

Accordingly, the respondents produced before court were the captain of the Avant Garde armoury ship, Gennady Gavrilov, the storekeeper of the Avant Garde vessel Don Tomas Elbert Wijetunga Thilakarathne, the Operations Manager of the same vessel Millaniyage Sumudu Nilupul Costa, along with Karunarathna Banda and Palitha Waduge Piyasiri Fernando, all of whom were bailed out previously, although some respondents remain in remand prison, namely Victor Samaraweera, Karunarathna Banda Egodawela and Palitha Waduge Piyasiri Fernando.

State Counsel for prosecution Janake Bandara making a statement on the 7th suspect Saman Disanayake alleged that according to the medical report on him he had no difficulty in appearing in courts and said that the law should be applied similarly to all.

He further informed the court that Nissanka Senadhipathi and Wishvajith Nandana Diyabalanage, the two key suspects cited in this case, had fled to Singapore, while Sujatha Jayarathna, a former Additional Secretary of the Defence Ministry had vacated post and gone to New Zealand.

The State Counsel also remarked that although DIG Nagahamulla had told the courts that there was no substantial charge for the arrest of Saman Dissanayake and Sujatha Damayanthi Jayarathne Dissanayake the former ( Saman Dissanayake) has been recognised as an individual who had not extended any support in the investigating process of the case. Furthermore, keeping automatic weapons in one’s possession without a valid permit was an offence that can be punished with life imprisonment. No one should be allowed to play about with the law, he emphasized.

Defence Counsel Ajith Pathirana, appearing for Saman Disanayake and Sujatha Damayanthi, argued before courts as to why the Defence Minister and Defence Secretary had not been arrested since the floating armoury had been operated under the Defence Ministry.

The lawyer appearing for Victor Samaraweera at this stage said that her client had nether submitted a fundamental rights petition nor left the country. However on understanding that he had been cited as a suspect in the case over the media he had made a statement to the Criminal Investigation Department and extended his support for the ongoing investigations. She also stated that the client had not signed any document linked to the incident and urged for justice upon her client.

The Avant Garde armoury ship was found to be carrying 549 T-56 military assault rifles, 264 S-84 rifles and 204,674 rounds of ammunition during an inspection on October 6, 2015, while docked at the Galle Port.

The floating armoury unlawfully operated by Avant Garde Maritime Services in and off-shore around Galle harbour, was detained by the police and handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department for further investigations.

The respondents were represented by A.G.P.Sarathchandra PC, lawyers Ajith Pathirana, Srimal Wijesekara and Harith Hettiarachchi. State Counsel Janaka Bandara with SI Senarath of Criminal Investigation Department prosecuted. 

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