The Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar yesterday issued a split order ruling that the case could not be summoned to conduct the testimony of the first prosecution witness in the case, former Central Bank Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamy, who is now residing in the United Kingdom, through the video technology in connection with the irregularities that took place at the third bond auction held on March 31, 2015.
The case was taken up before the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar bench comprising Colombo High Court Judges Damith Thotawatta, Adithya Patabendi and Namal Balalle. High Court Judge Amal Ranaraja presided over the bench, while High Court Judge Namal Balalle ruled that Coomaraswamy’s testimony could not be summoned through video technology, while High Court Judge Aditya Patabedige stated that the relevant evidence could be summoned.
The High Court Judge further stated that although the Attorney General’s permission could not be granted under the Victims and Witnesses Protection Act and the COVID Procedure Act, that evidence could be called in accordance with the Criminal Procedure code at the discretion of Court and that the request was made by two irrelevant Acts. Presiding Judge Amal Ranaraja’s majority order stated that the request to call witnesses through video technology had no legal basis.
Delivering the order, special conditions were laid down by the Colombo High Court Judge Adithya Patabendige, Accordingly, the witness was required to give evidence at the Sri Lankan High Commission in England at the Sri Lanka time prescribed by Court. It is stated that only the relevant cameraman and witness should be present during the recording of his testimony. Further, the Defence should, as mentioned earlier, make it clear that copies of the documents they intend to present at the cross-examination should be clearly named and should be made available to the witness.
However the request made by the Prosecution was rejected by the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar.
The case will be taken up again on December 1.
The Attorney General has filed an indictment against 10 accused including former Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran and former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake before the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar under the Public Property Act, alleging that they caused a loss of over Rs.688 million at a bond auction held by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on February 27, 2015. The 10 accused are Perpetual Treasuries Private Ltd, former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke, CBSL former Governor Arjuna Mahendran, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius, PTL Chief dealer Kasun Palisena, Chairman of PTL Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran, Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa, Badugoda Hewa Indika Saman Kumara.
The case is proceeding in the absence of Former Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran and Perpetual Treasuries Former Director Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa.