A navy officer who was held in remand custody for more than a year for allegedly selling 270,600 litres of diesel valued at Rs.21.9 million belonging to the Navy to private filling stations was released on bail by a Colombo Court yesterday.
The suspect, G. Siri Lal Ranjith of Ruwanwella and another six suspects including three navy personnel, two Ceylon Petroleum Corporation employees and two fuel filling station owners were arrested by CID for committing an offence which came under the Public Property Act.
Filing a bail application before Colombo Fort Magistrate, defence counsel Jayantha Dias Nanayakkara with Ms. Ramani Abeygunawardena moved to grant bail to the suspect on the basis of the health condition of the suspect’s little daughter due to the separation from the father. Counsel also had stated that the conclusion of the preliminary inquiries into the matter and the one year remand period of the suspect should also be taken into consideration in granting bail to him. Counsel Nanayakkara had tendered several medical reports showing the bad health condition of the suspect’s daughter.
Magistrate Ms. Lanka Jayaratne observed that the Court had sought the Attorney General’s advice regarding the matter for a period of long time and it was pending. The Magistrate further observed that the Court had sent several reminders to the Attorney General and maintained that it would take a long time and as such his daughter’s health condition could further deteriorated. Finally, the Magistrate maintained that the health condition of the child could be considered as an exceptional circumstance and ordered that the suspect be released on a cash bail of Rs.15,000 and two sureties of Rs.250,000. The other suspects were further remanded till December 14. (Lakmal Sooriyagoda)