Giving false evidence at PCoI Ravi K can be a suspect: Magistrate

Published : 12:06 am  October 20, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (146) reads | 
  • Ravi’s Co., GTL seeks two more weeks to provide details  
  • AG objects saying no reasonable grounds to request for time
  • Magistrate allows one week till Oct.29 to provide details

  
Untitled-19By Shehan Chamika Silva   

Colombo Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake yesterday clarified his order on Ravi Karunanayake being named as a suspect, observing that the order does not say he cannot be a suspect in the inquiry but questions the process by which he was named a suspect. 

He said this when a motion was taken into consideration in the magisterial inquiry on former minister Mr. Karunanayake in connection with giving false testimony at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on August 2 last year.   
The Magistrate previously made an order on October 8 directing certain individuals and the Global Transportation & Logistic Ltd (GTL) to provide details requested by the prosecution on or before October 22. In this order the Magistrate had also observed the way in which Mr. Karunanayake had been named a suspect and that it was not legally correct.   


Filing a motion at the outset of the inquiry, President’s Counsel Shavendra Fernando, who appeared for GTL, which has connections to Mr. Karunayake, requested Court to allow two more weeks to comply with the October 8 order directing GTL to provide details of bank statements, vouchers, fund transactions, decisions of directors, etc., between January 2015 and August 2017.   


However, when the Chief Magistrate asked why time was needed, the defence counsel said they needed more time to obtain more legal advice because the prosecution’s request for the details contained some confidential matters as well. The defence counsel said these details covered a period of more than two years and that was the reason for requesting for more time.   


The Chief Magistrate observed that the court could not consider the need for more time on an order already given. He said if a party did not agree with the order, there is legal provision to file a revision application in the High Court and seek relief against the order.   


Senior State Counsel Lakmini Girihagama who appeared for the Attorney General objected to the granting of two more weeks to provide the details. She said GTL was requesting for more time after nine days of the order though it was aware about the details even prior to the order being given.   


SSC Girihagama said if GTL were to request more time, their motion should have contained comprehensive reasons to be considered as reasonable grounds to grant such time, because this could be an attempt to delay the investigation.   


After considering the submissions made by both parties, the Magistrate granted GTL a week’s time till October 29, to provide the details to the CID.   


He said if the party subject to the order did not comply with it, the prosecution could file legal action under Section 185 of the Penal Code for disobeying court orders.   


Amid heated arguments between SSC Girihagama and PC Fernando in connection with Mr. Karunanayake being named a suspect in the inquiry, the Magistrate intervened saying his previous order looked into the legal provisions set out in the Criminal Procedure Code to explain that Mr.  Karunanayake could not be named a suspect considering the way in which this inquiry was being conducted.   


“I did not mention that Mr. Karunanayake cannot be a suspect in this inquiry but during this inquiry, as per the law, he cannot be named as a suspect,” the Magistrate said.   


He said after the inquiry the prosecution could decide whether to institute proper legal action against him by making him an accused in a court case.   


The CID had earlier initiated this magisterial inquiry on the Attorney General’s directive to begin criminal action against Mr. Karunanayake, Steve Samuels (Aloysius’ personal assistant), Kasun Palisena and B.J.R. Sinnaih (Chief Finance Officer of Global Transportation & Logistics Pvt. Ltd) for giving false evidence at the PCoI inquiry.   


Earlier, the Magistrate acceding to the prosecution’s request had directed several mobile service providers to provide the required details on the mobile numbers that the CID required to proceed with the inquiry, and also allowed the prosecution to obtain bank statements of GTL, which is linked to Mr. Karunanayake. The Secretary GTL was also directed to provide documents relating to details of its Directors and their decisions.