Colombo Chief Magistrate, Lal Ranasinghe, on 26 February fixed the case, filed against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Chairman of Avant Garde Nissanka Senadhipathy, and six others for 26 March. They face charges for having facilitated the Avant Garde Maritime Security Services Private Limited to maintain a floating armoury off the Southern seas and allegedly causing a loss of Rs 11.4 million to the State. The Magistrate fixed the new date having considered submissions made to the Court on behalf of the defence by President's Counsel (PC) Anil Silva.
Silva told the Court that as attorney Udaya Kumara de Silva who is appearing for the fourth suspect has to be in the Supreme Court (SC), a fresh date should be fixed for the case, and the Chief Magistrate consented to the request.
Silva appearing for the first suspect in the case, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, told the Court that his client has filed a revision application in the Court of Appeal against the rejection of the revision petition filed in the Colombo High Court. Silva said that as the revision application is due to be taken for hearing by the Court of Appeal on 13 March, the case should be fixed for 26 March in the Magistrate's Court.
Senior Counsel Janaka Bandara appeared for the prosecution and told the Court that the revision application filed by the first suspect in the CHC had been dismissed by the High Court Judge without even having issued notice.
He told the Court that though another revision application had been filed in the Court of Appeal, no interim injunction has been slapped against it and hence there was no hindrance to hearing the case.
Attorney Bandara however informed the Court that since certain lawyers have to attend cases in different Courts, fixing the case to a later date was no issue and that the prosecution would not object to it. The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption has indicted eight suspects on 19 counts including the former Defence Secretary for having allegedly committed the said offences from 7 August, 2012, to 8 January, 2015.
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