Former Minister Ravi Karunanayake seen with his daughters after he was granted bail. Pic By Pradeep Dilrukshana
By Yoshitha Perera
Former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others who were remanded over two alleged bond scams occurred in March 2016 were yesterday ordered to be released on bail by two Colombo High Court Trials-at-Bar.
Accordingly, Karunanayake, Arjun Joseph Aloysius, Kasun Oshadha Palisena, Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius, Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran, Sangarapillai Padumanathan and Indika Saman Kumara were released on bail.
When the case on the second alleged bond scam amounting to Rs.36.98 million came up before Courts a two- thirds split verdict was passed and ordered to release the accused on bail. Accordingly, Colombo High Court Judge Damith Thotawatte and Judge Mohamed Irshadeen granted bail to the accused, deciding that Article 450 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Code was no longer valid and that the Bail Act would be effective beyond Article 450 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The two judges also ruled that the defendants medical report on their illnesses could not be considered as exceptional circumstances to grant bail but they would take into account the Attorney General’s failure to make submission against granting bail to accused in the first bond case filed
in 2019. Meanwhile, the court ordered that the accused be released on bail, taking into account the fairness and the complexity of the case. Announcing his decision, High Court Judge Manjula Tillekeratne stated that the High Court had no jurisdiction to grant bail to an accused under Section 450 of the Criminal Procedure Code and that the High Court had no jurisdiction to disregard the Act. Judge Manjula Tillekeratne also ruled that the Bail Act was not relevant to granting of bail to the accused who were charged under the Public Property Act and ordered to further remand them.
Following a two-thirds majority, the bench finally decided to grant bail to the accused. Accordingly, the accused were released on Rs. 1 million cash bail and two surety bails of Rs. 5 million each.
Delivering the bail order, the High Court Trial-at-Bar imposed a travel ban on all 8 accused. The case will be taken up again on May 11. When the third alleged bond scam amounting to Rs. 15 billion occurred on March 31, 2016, was called for bail yesterday and the bench unanimously decided that remanding the accused was a violation of the accused right to a fair trial and ordered to release them on bail. Accordingly, the accused were released on Rs. 1 million cash bail and two surety bail of Rs. 10 million each.
Delivering the bail order, the High Court Trial-at-Bar imposed a travel ban on all 8 accused. The bail order was delivered by Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar comprises Judges Amal Ranaraja, Namal Ballala and Adithya Patabendige.
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