The four former directors of ETI and Swarnamahal Jewelers (Pvt) Ltd. who were arrested on charges under the Money Laundering Act were yesterday ordered to be released on bail by Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.
When the case was taken up before Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage, the Magistrate ordered the release of the four suspects Jeewaka Edirisinghe, Nalaka Edirisinghe, Asanka Edirisinghe and Deepa Edirisinghe on two sureties of Rs.1 million each.
Delivering the bail order the Magistrate directed the Court that considering anything that does not come under Section 14 of the Bail Act shall be illegal in terms of remanding a suspect and merely considering the fact that the suspects having a strong case against them was not enough to remand them.
“During the submission representing the prosecution, the Attorney General’s (AG) department mentioned that it had still not obtained the relevant documents into the matter and requested the Court to further remand the suspects. However, it was not a sufficient reason to further remand the suspects by rejecting the Bail Act,” the Magistrate directed the Court.
Making the bail submissions for the 1, 2nd, 4 and 5 suspects President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne informed that the AG’s Department had failed to make a submission in relevance to Section 14 of the Bail Act.
Appearing for the 3rd suspect Asanka Edirisinghe Senior Counsel Asela Rekawa along with Attorneys-at-law Ramalingam Ranjan, Nirmal Kodithuwakku and Shehan Silva informed the Court that the instant money laundering case against his client should be dismissed as the inquiry has been initiated separately but arose from the same transaction.
He pointed out a legal precedent from India and said the money laundering charge should have been included in the main magisterial inquiry. “The prosecution had initiated the money-laundering inquiry separately for the sole purpose of keeping his client in remand custody,” Mr Rekawa said.
While rejecting allegations made by the defendants representing the AG’s Department Senior State Counsel (SSC) Lakmini Girihagama said that the suspects had still failed to handover the Forensic Audit report pertaining to the inquiry to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). (Yoshitha Perera)