Arrested following surrender to CID
High Court quashes operation of MC Bail Order
Former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne being escorted from the CID Headquarters last night.  (ANCL Photo Desk)
Former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne being escorted from the CID Headquarters last night. (ANCL Photo Desk)

Former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, arrested last evening by the Criminal Investigations Department was remanded till May 27, after he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. The Magistrate also rejected the bail application made by the defense counsels.

The CID produced him before Courts last evening after recording a statement from him.

The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday (13) ordered the CID to produce the former minister before court after the Colombo High Court gave an order quashing the operation of Colombo Chief Magistrate's order to grant bail to the former minister Rajitha Senaratne in connection with the controversial White Van Press Conference held on November 10, 2019, in which allegations regarding white van abductions were made. 

Delivering the judgment in respect of a revision application filed by Attorney General challenging Chief Magistrate's bail order, High Court Judge Manjula Tilakaratne held that the Colombo Chief Magistrate's order was erroneous and bad in law. 

The Colombo High Court ordered to forward back the original case recordings of the case to the Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court in order to make an appropriate order. 

The Attorney General had filed this revision application challenging Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court order dated December 30, 2019 to grant bail to former Parliamentarian Rajitha Senaratne. 

The High Court Judge observed that prior to making the bail order, the Chief Magistrate should have made an order calling for a medical report from the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer pertaining to the health condition of former Minister Senaratne. 

The High Court Judge observed that according to the provisions of Prison Ordinance, a remanded suspect could be admitted to the Prison Hospital or another hospital run under government's supervision following the recommendation of a Judicial Medical Officer. The High Court Judge further observed that order made by Chief Magistrate was prejudicial to other remanded suspects since it violates the principle of all are equal before the law. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Solicitor General  Dileepa Peiris appearing for the Attorney General  informed court that Colombo High Court's yesterday judgment was an exemplary one and provides guidelines to all Magistrates across the country when dealing with bail applications.  

On January 21 this year, the Colombo High Court decided to formally issue notices on former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne regarding this revision application citing that there are sufficient materials to proceed with the revision application. 

 Former Minister Rajitha Senaratne was arrested in connection with organising the white van press conference on November 10 ahead of the Presidential election. He was later released on bail by Colombo Chief Magistrate. Former State Pharmaceuticals Corporation Chairman Mohommed Rumi Mohommed Azeem and two other individuals, namely Sakalawalli Arachchige Sarath Kumara and Athula Sanjeewa Madanayake, who had allegedly been involved in the incident were also released on bail subsequently.    

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