MIG 27 Deal: Udayanga remanded under Public Property Act

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By Shehan Chamika Silva   

Following the ‘certificate’ required under the Public  Property Act (PPA) was filed in court by the CID, Fort Magistrate Ranga  Dissanayake yesterday considered that suspect Udayanga Weeratunga could  be kept in remand custody until the conclusion of the investigation,  except for exceptional circumstances under the PPA.  

When a person is produced before court for an offence  committed under the PPA, the Police is required to file a certificate  signed by an ASP with the suspect if the amount committed under PPA is  above Rs. 25,000.   

Earlier, the Fort Magistrate reprimanded the CID officials  for behaving unusually as they failed to file the certificate when  producing suspect Weeratunga in court on the last occasion. Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige yesterday  informed the court that the CID have now filed the ‘certificate’  required under the section 8(1) of the PPA. He also said that the Attorney General had advised the CID to name another person, Nelum Duminda Mannapperuma (brother in law of Weeratunga) as the eighth suspect over the inquiry.   Appearing for the suspect Defence Counsel contended that  there were several discrepancies in the previous ‘B’ reports filed in the  case. He said suspect Weeratunga was never involved in any cheating in  the purchase of the MIG 27 agreement as he was not in the country when  the alleged agreement was said to have signed in his presence.   He also said that there was no evidence so far to suggest  that his client received money from this agreement. He said that the then Commander of SLAF had visited Ukraine and  obtained the ‘factory acceptance certificate’ over three aircraft.  The Defence Counsel requested court to direct the CID to  investigate those facts, as it would jeopardize his  client’s rights to fair trial.  However, DSG Mudalige was of the view that the suspect  was aware of the alleged agreement from the beginning and that  in the offence of ‘Conspiracy’ to ‘Cheating’, there is no requirement necessary that he received money directly from the alleged deal.   

Magistrate: Apparently, there is no response so far  from the acting IGP regarding the question asked by the court. Has he  informed about the possibility of reappointing the previous  investigators?   

Deputy Solicitor General: So far the acting IGP has not responded to us on that your honour.   

Magistrate: I sent a letter, on February 17, 2020  asking only to inform the court over the possibility of such  re-appointment, but no response so far.   

DSG: Your honour, the Attorney General has also in his advise mentioned about this to the acting IGP earlier .   

Magistrate: They might want to appoint a committee  and decide on this as well (in a sarcastic manner). 

This is really not  acceptable. I don’t understand what to do if the Police don’t comply  with the AG’s advises as well the requests from the court.   

DSG: your honour, it was reported to me that the previous investigator has been again transferred to the Jaffna region.   

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