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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 113

Former Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne Granted Bail

Colombo, 31 December, (Asiantribube.com):

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne granted bail to former Minister Rajitha Senaratne MP who was arrested by the CID on the 26 December while he was was admitted to the Cardiology Unit of a private hospital in Colombo after an arrest warrant was issued on him by the Colombo Additional Magistrate.

Rajitha Senaratne who was remanded on the charges of organizing a ‘white van’ press conference prior to the presidential election was yesterday granted bail with two sureties of Rs.500,000 each by the Colombo Chief Magistrate.

Upon his admission to the hospital, Senaratne was arrested by the CID over the controversial "white van" press conference in Colombo before the last Presidential election.

Delivering the order, Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne said legal irregularities made by the prosecution were considered in granting bail to the suspect and that the charges filed against MP Senaratne were bailable offences in keeping with the Criminal Procedure Code.

“The Attorney General’s Department and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) should have filed the matter as a separate case in court. The charges have been filed considering sections 169,190,113 and 102 of the Penal Code and section 81 of the Presidential Election Act. These charges contrast with those filed by the CID against the first and second suspects of the case,” the magistrate said.

Furthermore, the magistrate cancelled the anticipatory bail application filed by the MP and ordered that he provided a statement to the CID after receiving medical treatment.

According to a statement made by Dr. Mohammed Nazeer who ministered to the MP, keeping him at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Lanka Hospital was "pointless."

Taking into account a request made by the CID, the magistrate issued a travel ban on Mohammed Rumi Mohammed who had provided Rs.2 million to the first and second suspects of the case to attend the said press conference.

However, when the CID requested the magistrate to name Mohammed Rumi as a suspect of the case and issue an arrest warrant against him, it was refused by the magistrate on the grounds that the CID had failed to file proper chargers to consider such legal measures.

Earlier, The Attorney General had earlier instructed the CID to arrest Seneratne MP over a controversial ‘white van’ press briefing in November, just prior to the Presidential election.

Subsequently, on 24th December, the Colombo Additional Magistrate issued a warrant to arrest the former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne over the controversial “white van” media briefing he had called last month.

The Police was on the lookout for Senaratne as an arrest warrant was issued (24) by the Colombo Additional Magistrate over the ‘white van’ press briefing held on 10 November.

However, officials of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were not able to arrest the former Health Minister despite arriving at both his residences in Colombo and Beruwala. It was then reported that Senaratne was admitted to the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CICU) of Lanka Hospitals in Narahenpita.

The parliamentarian had previously lodged two anticipatory bail applications with the Colombo Chief Magistrate, seeking the prevention of his arrest. The court had rejected the initial bail application and the second one was fixed to be taken up for hearing on the 30th of December.

In the meantime, lawyers representing the parliamentarian on 26th filed a motion before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court to submit explanations for the recall of the arrest warrant on the MP, only to withdraw it later.

Presenting their submissions, the CID had requested the court to remand Senaratne because his release would hinder the investigations pertaining to the case.

Accepting the request, the Additional Magistrate then decided to visit the ward to which Senaratne was admitted.

Having made inquiries about the former Minister’s condition, the Magistrate ordered him to be remanded till Dec 30.

In the run-up to the Presidential election campaign, Dr. Senaratne brought before the media two men claiming to have been involved in ‘white van’ abductions and transporting tonnes of LTTE gold to Colombo, on Nov 10. Dr Senaratne was present with Douglas Anthony Fernando, who claimed to have driven the white vans, and another individual, Athula Sanjaya Madanayake, who was allegedly the victim of an attempted abduction.

- Asian Tribune -

 Former Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne Granted Bail
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