Rajitha’s infamous ‘White Van’ press con case trial on March 15
The case filed against former Minister Rajitha Senaratne and another over making false allegations against the then Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the controversial ‘White Van Press Conference’ during the 2019 Presidential Election was yesterday fixed for March 15 by the Colombo High Court.
The former chairman of the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation Mohammad Rumi is the other accused in the case.
The Attorney General filed indictments comprising 14 charges of conspiracy and aiding and abetting under sections 190, 169 (G) of the Penal Code and Section 80 of the Presidential Election Act against Minister Rajitha Senaratne and former chairman of the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation Mohammad Rumi in the Colombo High Court in connection with the controversial ‘White Van’ Press Conference.
The case was taken up before the Colombo High Court Judge Damith Thotawatta yesterday where, President’s Counsel Anil Silva appearing for former Minister Rajitha Senaratne informed Court that they were unable to examine the computer generated evidence in the case yet and they expect to raise objections retarding these computer generated evidence.
Accordingly, the Colombo High Court Judge ordered the case to be taken up again on February 18 as a calling date.
Sakalavalli Arachchige Sarath Kumara and Watareka Gamage Athula Sanjeewa Madanayake who were named as the first and second suspects in the case before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court have been released from the charges and they were named as prosecution witnesses in the indictment.
Minister Rajitha Senaratne was arrested in connection with organizing the white van press conference on November 10 ahead of the Presidential election 2019.
He was later released on two sureties of Rs.500,000 by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayarathne. In her bail order, the Chief Magistrate observed that according to the Criminal Procedure Code, the charges levelled against Senaratne were bailable offences.
Former State Pharmaceuticals Corporation Chairman Mohommed Rumi Mohommed Azeem and two other individuals, namely Sakalawalli Arachchige Sarath Kumara and Athula Sanjeewa Madanayake, who had allegedly been involved in the incident, were also released on bail.
Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Pieris appeared on behalf of the Attorney General and President’s Counsel Gowry Thawarasa, Anil Silva PC and K.V. Thawarasa appeared for the defence.