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Lalith and Anusha’s appeals fixed for Oct. 19

Two Appeal petitions filed by former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunge and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Director General Anusha Palpita challenging the judgement of the Colombo High Court to convict them over the Sil Redi distribution case were yesterday fixed for October 19 by the Court of Appeal.

When the matter came up before the Court of Appeal two-judge-Bench comprising Justice Deepali Wijesundara and Justice Achala Wengappuli, the Registrar of Colombo High Court tendered in court the proceedings pertaining to the High Court trial.

Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita had been sentenced to three-years-Rigorous Imprisonment by the Colombo High Court for misappropriating Rs. 600 million of funds belonging to TRC.

On September 7 last year, Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita were found guilty of misappropriating Rs.600 million of funds belonging to TRC over Controversial Sil Redi (fabrics used by devotees to observe sill) distribution case.

Through their appeal applications,the two accused-appellants stated that they were seeking the jurisdiction of Court of Appeal to review and set aside their conviction imposed by High Court dated September 7, 2018.

In their petitions, the accused-appellants stated that neither a sum of Rs 600 million nor a part of it were utilised by them for their personal gains. They further stated that the High Court judge had given them a short period of time (13 days) to pay off the compensations.

While handing out a lengthy judgment, High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga had maintained that the prosecutors have proven the accused’s 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 Rs.two million rupees 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.

Counsel Kanchana Ratwatte with J.Ratnayake appeared for the appellant accused. Senior State Counsel Jayalakshi Silva appeared for the Attorney General.