Chief Government Chief Whip and Urban Development Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga was yesterday sentenced to two years Rigourous Imprisonment by the Colombo High Court over the case filed against him in connection with the alleged conspiracy to extort Rs. 64 million from a businessman to fill a swamp in the Meethotamulla area in Kolonnawa.
The sentence was suspended for five years and ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 25 million by the Colombo High Court. The verdict was delivered by Colombo High Court Judge Manjula Thilekarathne and he was also ordered to pay 1 Mn compensation to the prosecution. The indictments comprising 15 charges were filed in 2016 against the three accused including Prasanna Ranatunga, his wife Maureen Ranatunga and Naresh Farik.
A Counsel appeared for the third accused in the case Naresh Farik,who is currently abroad and the trial was conducted in his absence.
According to the evidence transpired during a lengthy trial, the Colombo High Court maintained that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against accused Maureen Ranatunga and Naresh Farik beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the Colombo High Court Judge ordered that both accused be acquitted and released from the case.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga was also acquitted of all other charges filed against him while he was convicted only of the 13th charge mentioned in the indictment.
Two witnesses testified on behalf of the prosecution and the Minister and his wife recorded dock statements on behalf of the defence.
The Attorney General (AG) had filed indictments against Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, his wife Maureen Ranatunga and a third person, on the charge of threatening a businessman by demanding the balance sum out of Rs. 64 million.
The Attorney General filed indictments on 15 counts against the three accused, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, his spouse Maureen Ranatunga and Naresh Kumar Fareek, based on charges of committing offences between April 6, 2015 and June 2, 2015.
In addition, the AG has named 65 witnesses and included 35 articles as Court productions against the three accused in this case. Senior Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Pieris appeared on behalf of the Attorney General and President’s Counsel Anil Silva appeared for the defence.