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Friday, June 9, 2023

The story of Gota’s millions that police minster took over!

Image: Activists that captured presidential palace on 9th July 2022 found nearly 18 m LKR packed neatly. 

The case of Gota’s millions was taken up at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court on 03rd  May.  Nearly  18 million LKR found in the presidential palace was  handed over to the police by the Aragalaya  activists in July 2022 .

The case was called before the acting magistrate of that court. But none of the officers of the Criminal Investigation Department who are investigating this issue were not present. Likewise, no one from the Police Legal Division was present. Although notices were also issued to the Bribery and Corruption Investigation Commission for this purpose during the previous hearing no one from the commission was present. And the top of all no one from the AG department was present.

None of these parties had previously informed that they would not be able to participate in the case hearing on 3rd. Is it a coincidence that police and AG department both were not present , legal sources question.

Due to absence of them, the case was adjourned until the 10th this month.

At the beginning the investigation of the money found at former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa was conducted by the Police Special Investigation Unit. Then suddenly the investigation was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department by the Inspector General of Police.

In the meanwhile Gota’s lawyers informed the Colombo-Fort Magistrate’s Court on February 8th that this money belongs to former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The lawyers also asked the court to release the amount to him.

But Colombo-Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage rejected the request. According to section 431 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, the magistrate pointed out that it is the responsibility of the court to conduct an inquiry before giving an order regarding the money. The Magistrate also said that the money could be investigated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act as well as under the Bribery Act.

Accordingly, the magistrate emphasized that until the investigation regarding this amount is completed, it is not possible to release it.

The Colombo-Fort Magistrate’s Court ordered to obtain a statement from the former President regarding this amount. Last February 07, the Criminal Investigation Department obtained a statement from Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in this regard at his residence. This statement was recorded for almost 03 hours.

Meanwhile, Director of Police Special Investigation Unit Senior Superintendent of Police D.S. Wickramasinghe previously informed the Colombo-Fort Magistrate’s Court that SDIG Deshbandu Tennakoon threatened him because he reported to the court regarding the influence exerted by the him on the  Officer-in-Charge of the Colombo-Fort Police Station to hand over this money to Law and Order Minister Tiran Alas without producing them at the court.

The director of the Special Investigation Unit of the Police stated that the Senior DIG Deshabandu  threatened him by making phone calls and saying, ‘I will take care of you.’ This Special Investigation Unit operates directly under the supervision of the Inspector General of Police.

The Senior Superintendent of Police further pointed out to the court that he is in fear of Deshbandu Tennakoon trying to get involved in some other incident to take revenge on him or endangering his life or his family members.

The Senior Superintendent of Police further informed the court that he has made notes regarding this threat and hopes to complain about it to the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission in the future.

After the notification, the lawyers appearing for this case stated that the Senior Superintendent of Police had submitted the relevant report to the court as per a court order and that threatening him was an insult to the court. The lawyers also stated that this is an offense under the protection of witnesses and victims.

Colombo-Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage said that He will decide on the threatening issue after receiving the phone analysis reports regarding Deshbandu Tennakoon’s threat to the Director of the Special Investigation Unit.

In the meantime, the Police Special Investigation Unit also informed the court that the Inspector General of Police informed them to take permission from the court to transfer this investigation from the Police Special Investigation Unit to the Criminal Investigation Department.

Protesting the request, the lawyers said that the investigation should be handed over to another unit by the Inspector General of Police, and that the intervention of the court is not necessary.

The lawyers pointed out to the court that the investigation should be handed over to another division only if the Special Investigation Unit is not investigating properly, and that there is no need to hand over the investigation to another division because the Police Special Investigation Unit is conducting the investigation properly.

( Translation of an article published by  thetime.lk in Sinahala.)



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