Galle Magistrate Nilupuli Lankapura allowed a CID request today to conduct further investigations into the floating armoury in the Avant Garde ship at the Galle Harbour under the Money Laundering Act.
The Avant Garde ship was seized by the Galle Harbour Police on January 18, this year and handed over to the CID for further investigations.
Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Additional Secretary Sujatha Damayanthi Wijeyaratne , former Navy Commander Somatilleka Dissanayake and two directors of the Avant Garde company had been named as suspects in the case and their passports were impounded.
When the case was taken up before the Galle Chief Magistrate on August 27, the CID informed that the Attorney General had advised that adequate evidence was not available to file action under the Firearms Ordinance, Explosives Ordinance and the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Accordingly the magistrate withdrew the impounding of passports of the suspects.
However the CID told court that they expected to file action under the Money Laundering Act and the Magistrate ordered the CID to submit the final report on the investigations today.
The lawyers appearing for the Avant Garde company took up the position that in view of the Attorney General’s decision not to file action under the Prevention of Terrorism Act , the Firearms Ordinance and the Explosives Ordinance the case should not proceed. They told court that steps taken by the CID to file action under the Money Laundering Act was a shrewd tactic to proceed with the case. They said the propaganda given to the case by the media affected marine defence.
The state counsel told court that the CID had to examine 35 bank accounts and therefore they needed ample time for it. He said no one had not been named as a suspect during investigations.
The Magistrate held that the CID should be allowed the requested time for the ongoing investigations. She also ordered the Courts Registrar to inform the Ports Authority and the Southern Province Commander of the Navy to carry out the previous court order to allow the transfer of weapons to another ship.
The case was postponed for February 25, 2016. (D.G.Sugathapala and Sumathipala Diayagahage)