Senadhipathi granted bail | Daily News


 

Five accused in Avant-Garde case released;

Senadhipathi granted bail

The five accused in the high profile Avant Garde floating armory case were yesterday ordered to be released from the case by the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar.

Accordingly, the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar ordered to release first accused Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited, second accused the Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Limited, third accused former Rakna Lanka Chairman, retired Major General Waduge Palitha Piyasiri Fernando, fourth accused former Rakna Lanka CEO, retired Major General Karunaratna Banda Adhikari Egodawele, and twelve accused former Senior Additional Defence Secretary Damayanthi Jayaratne from the case.

The Court decided to release these accused from the case since charges against the accused cannot be maintained under the Firearms Ordinance and Explosives Ordinance.

At the previous hearing, the defence presented preliminary objection against the indictment of the high-profile Avant Garde floating armory case and stated that the indictment which was filed by the Attorney General is flawed.

The Defence Counsel who appeared for first accused, Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited and second accused, Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Limited pointed out that charges against the accused cannot be maintained as a criminal case against a private limited company.

Considering the circumstances, the preliminary objection raised by the defence was yesterday upheld and ordered to release the five accused from the case by the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar.

Further, The Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar ordered to the prosecution that only 19 charges among 7573 charges could be maintained against the other eight accused, Chairman of Avant-Garde, Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi, General Manager of Rakna Lanka’s Ocean Security Unit, retired Air Vice Marshal Ponnuthurai Balasundaram Premachandran, Rakna Lanka Chairman Victor Samaraweera, Don Albert Tillekaratne, retired Navy Commodore Vishvajith Nandana Diyabalanage, Nilupul de Costa, the captain of ‘MV Avant Garde’, Ukrainian Gennadiy Gavrylov and former Additional Defence Secretary Saman Dissanayake.

Meanwhile, the seventh accused in the case, Chairman of Avant-Garde, Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi was ordered to be released on a cash bail of Rs.500, 000 and two sureties of Rs.2, 500,000 each by the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar and also issued an order preventing the accused from travelling overseas without court permission. His passport was ordered to be kept under court custody.

The case was yesterday taken up before the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar bench comprising High Court Judges Dhammika Ganepola (President), Adithya Patabendi and Manjula Thilakarathne and the case was fixed for trial on February 10.

On a previous occasion, The Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar ordered to proceed with the evidence of the trial in the future without the presence of retired Air Vice Marshal Ponnuthurai Balasundaram Premachandran and former Senior Additional Defence Secretary Damayanthi Jayaratne who had been named as the accused in the case.

OThe Attorney General had filed indictments comprising 7,573 charges in connection with the Avant-Garde arms trafficking case against Avant-Garde Chairman Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi and the other 12 defendants.

The 7,573 charges including unlawful possession of automatic firearms and live ammunition rounds, were laid against the Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Limited, Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited ,Chairman of Avant-Garde, Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi, former Rakna Lanka Chairman, retired Major General Waduge Palitha Piyasiri Fernando, former Rakna Lanka CEO, retired Major General Karunaratna Banda Adhikari Egodawele, General Manager of Rakna Lanka’s Ocean Security Unit, retired Air Vice Marshal Ponnuthurai Balasundaram Premachandran, Rakna Lanka Chairman Victor Samaraweera, Don Albert Tillekaratne, retired Navy Commodore Vishvajith Nandana Diyabalanage, Nilupul de Costa, Ukrainian Gennadiy Gavrylov, the captain of ‘MV Avant Garde’, former Additional Defence Secretary Saman Dissanayake and former Senior Additional Defence Secretary Damayanthi Jayaratne, they were listed as the accused in the case. According to the proposed indictment, the Attorney General submitted that the accused have committed punishable offences under sections 22(1) and 22(3) of the Fire Arms Ordinance and section 113B, 102, 189 and 190 of the Penal Code for illegally operating merchant vessel ship MV Avant Garde carrying a stock of firearms and explosives including 816 unlicensed automatic firearms and 202,935 rounds of ammunition on the high seas off Galle. The Attorney General maintained that there is sufficient evidence to prove that the accused had committed punishable offences under the Firearms Ordinance and Explosives Ordinance on or around October 6, 2015.

The Attorney General further maintained that three accused - Saman Dissanayake, P.D. Premachandra and Nissanka Senadhipathi - could be charged for fabricating false evidence under Section 189 and 190 of the Penal Code.Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara appeared on behalf of the Attorney General.

 


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