LTTE revival connection under investigation over recent Indian drug haul – The Island.lk
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Samagi Jana Balaveyaga (SJB) has alleged that the Attorney General’s Department is delaying the release of information, pertaining to the withdrawal of indictments in a number of controversial cases, after the Nov. 2019 presidential election.
SJB lawmaker Mujibur Rahuman yesterday (13) told The Island that he had submitted an application, dated November 01, 2021, to the Attorney General, in terms of the Right to Information (RTI) Act but he was yet to receive the required information. “How could the Attorney General explain the failure on the part of his Department to respond to questions raised by a citizen?” the MP asked.
MP Rahuman said that he had received a letter, dated February 01, 2022, from the AG’s Department, requesting for reasonable time to respond to the queries raised by him on behalf of the SJB.Responding to another query, the SJB MP said that he raised this issue in Parliament last Friday (10 Nov). He emphasized such a long delay couldn’t be justified under any circumstances.
Although the AG’s Department claimed that it needed time to gather required information as High Courts were situated in various parts of the country, those responsible owed an explanation, Rahuman said, adding that one year would have been sufficient to collect information from all over the world.Dappula de Livera, PC, succeeded Jayasuriya in late April 2019. Sanjay Rajaratnam, PC, succeeded de Livera in May, 2021.
The Bill entitled ‘Right to Information’, was passed with amendments in Parliament during the Yahapalana administration.Responding to another query, MP Rahuman said that the SJB sought (i) the number of indictments withdrawn after the last presidential election (ii) specific cases (iii) case numbers of the indictments and (iv) on what dates have the indictments and/or court proceedings filed by the AG, after the last presidential election, been withdrawn?
MP Rahuman said that the SJB requested an opportunity to examine relevant work, documents, and records and take down notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records and take certified samples of material.
The SJB spokesman said that the CIABOC, too, owed an explanation as to how the decision to drop all charges against former lawmaker and Foreign Ministry Monitoring MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena, pertaining to the Mihin Lanka case, was arrived at. That particular case dealt with misappropriation of public funds amounting to Rs 883 mn, the lawmaker said, while referring to the subsequent dismissal of cases involving one-time Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pilleyan, Johnston Fernando, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Basil Rajapaksa, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon and former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris. The former CJ now serves as Sri Lanka’s top representative in New York.
Those who propagated the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept as part of the SLPP’s overall political strategy were still in control though Gotabaya Rajapaksa stepped down in July, MP Rahuman said..
The government shouldn’t under any circumstance circumvent the law for the benefit of its members, the MP said, pointing out that so many indictments filed against influential persons hadn’t been withdrawn in such a short period ever before.
The SJB MP said that they were in the process of gathering information pertaining to judicial matters, though the CIABOC, and the AG obviously didn’t want to help. “Once we obtain the official position as regards sensationally dismissed cases, the public can be briefed,” then the genuine Opposition in Parliament, the civil society and the media could pursue the matter, MP Rahuman said.