Bail applications by Lalith, Anusha; AG noticed to appear in court

The Attorney General was yesterday noticed to appear in the Colombo High Court on September 20 to inform his stance regarding the bail applications filed by former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita.

Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita were sentenced to three-years rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court for misappropriating Rs. 600 million of funds belonging to TRC. They had filed two appeal petitions seeking bail from the Colombo High Court.

When the bail applications were taken up before High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga, the Attorney General was noticed to appear in court on September 20 in order to explain his stance regarding the bail request.

President’s Counsel Kalinga Indatissa appearing for the accused informed court that his clients have filed for bail pending appeals and sought bail from the Colombo High Court.

Where an accused is convicted by the High Court, the High Court can grant him bail if the he satisfies the court that he intends to present an appeal the bail can be granted in several circumstances.

On September 7, Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita were found guilty of misappropriating Rs. 600 million of funds belonging to TRC, in the controversial Sil Redi (fabrics used by devotees to observe sill) distribution case. While handing out a lengthy judgment, High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga had maintained that the prosecutors have proven the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The High Court Judge further maintained that the accused had committed this offence dishonestly with the intention of gaining undue advantage to a particular candidate during the 2015-Presidential Election.l

While observing a political motivation had led the accused to commit this offence, Lalith Weeratunge and Anusha Palpita were ordered to pay a compensation of Rs.50 million each to the TRC in lieu of losses incurred contrary to the Telecommunication Act. Each accused were further ordered to pay a fine of two million rupees and in default of the payment of fine they will have to serve additional one year imprisonment.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita under three counts, in connection with a criminal misappropriation of Rs.600 million belonging to the TRC funds during the 2015-Presidential Election campaign. They were found guilty of all charges.

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