Gotabaya’s FR petition Sc Clarifies the stay order

Published : 7:49 am  June 9, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Lakmal Sooriyagoda
The Supreme Court yesterday clarified that the interim order staying the arrest of former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa would only apply to the four alleged incidents specifically mentioned in the petition, and that his arrest could not be made by  three of the respondents — namely, the IGP,  the director of the CID and the DIG of the FCID.

However, the Supreme  dfhCourt observed that this interim order would not apply to any other investigative authorities that had not been named as respondents.   A two-judge bench comprising Justices Eva Wanasundera and Sarath De Abrew afforded this clarification, as had been sought by the Attorney General, regarding the interim order issued by the Supreme Court on May 13.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Yasantha Kodagoda appearing for the secretary to the President, the IGP, the director of the CID, the DIG of the FCID and the Attorney General (AG) submitted to Court that the AG was compelled to seek clarification regarding the interim order because it lacked clarity and contained several ambiguities. “On behalf of the 41 to 45 respondents in the petition, I am seeking the exact ambit of the interim order. There are several ambiguities,” Mr. Kodagoda said.

Mr. Kodagoda stated that the interim order had prevented three senior police officer — the IGP, the director of the CID and the DIG of the FCID — from personally arresting the petitioner over four matters that were to be investigated. Those four matters were: the floating armoury docked at the Galle harbour, the leasing of aircraft at Mihin Lanka, allegations of corruption and irregularities in the purchase of MiG 27 aircraft in 2006 and share manipulation at Lanka Hospitals Limited.

ASG Kodagoda also stated that this order would prevent all police officers, about 80,000 of whom came under the purview of the IGP, from arresting the respondent in connection with the aforementioned four matters until the final determination of the petition.   Mr. Kodagoda stated that investigations into the alleged  leasing of aircraft at Mihin Lanka were conducted by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption which had not been named as a respondent. “Does this order bar the possible arrest by the Bribery Commission which had not been a party of this petition? I am seeking this clarification in good faith. The AG, as the main legal advisor to the state, needs to  have clarification on these issues. This stay order will last until the final determination of the petition,” the ASG said.

He further stated that there might be  other offences being investigated by police units besides the CID and the FCID. “Would they be barred from arresting the respondent? Would this order prevent Wild Life Department officers from arresting the petitioner?” he asked.  
He further stated that this interim order had provided a blanket immunity to the petitioner against arrest.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva PC, with Ali Sabry PC and Sugath Caldera, appearing for the petitioner informed Court that there was no reason to ask for clarification regarding the interim order and that there was no ambiguity in the interim order.


President’s Counsel  K. Kanageswaran with Vishwa de Livera Tennakoon and G.G Arulpragasam appeared for the respondents.     
The petitioner had cited Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the members of the Cabinet, the secretary to the Cabinet, the secretary to the President, IGP N.K. Ilangakoon, CID Director B.R.S.R. Nagahamulla, DIG (FCID) Ravi Waidyalankara and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner had filed the FR petition seeking an interim order preventing the respondents from arresting him over several purported investigations, and a declaration that the gazette notification on the FCID was ultra vires.