Case to proceed with accused in absentia

By Hansi Nanayakkara | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 14 2021

By Hansi Nanayakkara

Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam yesterday urged the Colombo Special Trial-at-Bar to continue proceedings on the 2015 February bond scam case with two of the accused in absentia, namely first accused ex-Governor of the CBSL Arjuna Mahendran and a Director of primary dealer PTL Private Limited and the 10th accused Ajan Gardiya Punchihewa.

It was revealed in Court, that the two accused Mahendran and Punchihewa are currently residing overseas. The legal matter pertaining to criminal misappropriation of bonds valued at Rs688 million was taken up last morning. 

Special High Court’s Bench, consisting of Judges Champa Rajaratne, Damith Thotawatta and Namal Balalle presided over the hearing. ASG Priyantha Nawana, who appeared on behalf of the AG, informed the Court that the Government of Singapore has initiated the extradition process for Mahendran. 

However, it is learned that the 10th suspect in the case, Ajahn Gardiya Punchihewa is currently residing in Malaysia, the Additional Solicitor General told the Court adding that bringing him back to the island under extradition laws is practically impossible and a time consuming process. Accordingly, the ASG requested the Court to proceed with the trial sans the presence of the two defendants. 

The Special Trial-at-Bar then fixed further hearing of the case for 3 December. Accepting a request made by the ASG, the Special Trial-at-Bar directed the prosecutors to keep the Court up-to-date through a motion on the process to extradite Mahendran. 

The case was filed against ten suspects – former CBSL Governor Arjuna Mahendran, former CBSL Deputy Governor Paththinige Samarasiri, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) owner Arjun Joseph Aloysius, PTL CEO Kasun Oshadhi Palisena, Chairman Geoffrey Joseph Aloysius, Directors Pushyamithra Gunawardena, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran and Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa – for incurring a loss of nearly Rs 688 million to the Government through criminal misappropriation of Treasury bonds during an auction held on 27 February, six years ago.  

By Hansi Nanayakkara | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 14 2021

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