July 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal issued a stay order to suspend the Avant-Garde case that is being heard before the Colombo Magistrate's Court against former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and several other defendants.
The two-judge bench of Appeal Court Justices Achala Vengapulli and Arjuna Obeysekera issued the injunction to suspend the lower court's proceedings with the case when the revision petition filed by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was taken up for hearing today.
The former Defense Secretary in his petition requested the Appellate Court to release him and seven other dependents from the charges filed by the Bribery Commission over the floating armory of the Avant Garde Maritime Services.
The two-judge bench also ordered to proceed with the revision petition and suspended the hearing of the case at the lower court until a ruling is given in the petition proceedings.
When the petition was called today, President's Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing on behalf of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that the manner in which the case was filed contradicts the Bribery Act.
As a result, the President's Counsel requested Court to issue an interim order prohibiting the hearing of the case before the Colombo Magistrate's Court and proceed with the petition.
The State Counsel stated that although there was no objection to issuing a notice to hear the case, the issue of the injunction could not be agreed upon.
After considering the submissions, the bench issued the stay order and ordered the Bribery Commission to submit objections on the 26th of August.
The Court postponed the hearing of the revision petition until the 28th of September.
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in his revision petition to the Appellate Court, stated that the Director General of Bribery Commission had not obtained a written approval from the Commission before taking legal action against him and the other suspects.
He has raised preliminary objections at the Colombo Magistrate Court against the Commission's charges but the court has rejected his objections.
In his revision partition, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa claims that the Colombo Magistrate Court's decision to reject his preliminary objections was illegal.
The defendants are accused of causing a financial loss to the tune of 11.4 billion rupees to the Government by paving the way for the operation of a floating armory by the Avant Garde Maritime Services.