Rishad re-remanded; court rejects bail application

Rishad re-remanded; court rejects bail application

October 27, 2020   12:48 pm

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The Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court today (27) rejected the bail application submitted by MP Rishad Bathiudeen.

Accordingly, the parliamentarian was re-remanded until the 10th of November.

Former Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, the director of the project Mohamed Yaseen Samsudeen and the project accountant Alagarathnam Manoranjan are accused of violating Article 82(1) of Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981 by misappropriating public funds to the tune of Rs. 9.5 million.

They have allegedly misused 222 buses belonging to the state-owned Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) for transporting internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Puttalam to polling stations in Silavathurai, Mannar during the 2019 Presidential Election.

The CID, upon the direction of the Attorney General, had sought the Colombo Fort Magistrate to issue a warrant to arrest MP Rishad Bathiudeen and the other two suspects on charges of criminal misappropriation of public funds and violation of election laws.

However, the magistrate ruled that the Police can proceed to arrest the suspects without a warrant. Thereby, Attorney General Dappula de Livera directed the Police to arrest the three suspects according to the law.

On October 14, the Fort Magistrate issued a travel ban on the parliamentarian upon a request by the CID.

MP Bathiudeen was subsequently arrested at a housing complex located at Ebenezer Place in Dehiwala in the early hours of October 19.

He was later produced before the Fort Magistrate’s Court and remanded until today. The magistrate also announced that the verdict on the bail application submitted by the defence counsels will be delivered on the same day.

However, when the bail application was taken up today (27), MP Bathiudeen was not presented before the court as he is currently under quarantine at the facility in Pallasena.

Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage, delivering the verdict on the bail application, said it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the citizen’s suffrage, however, the government is not authorized to do so unlawfully.

Contrary to the defendant’s claims, then-Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, in his testimony, has maintained that he gave out instructions to transport the IDPs to polling stations in compliance with the legal procedure, he said further.

Investigations have revealed that the process in question had taken place outside the legal framework, the magistrate mentioned while delivering the verdict.

He also noted that MP Bathiudeen had absconded the CID officers for six days despite being aware of the police sleuths’ attempt to arrest him.

Considering the submissions, the magistrate ordered to re-remand the parliamentarian and the project accountant Alagarathnam Manoranjan until the 10th of November.

The verdict on granting bail to the project director Mohamed Samsudeen will be delivered next week as he has submitted a medical report to the court claiming that he is suffering from an illness, the magistrate announced.

In the meantime, the seven suspects who were arrested for aiding MP Bathiudeen to abscond the CID officers were released on bail conditions.

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