Bathiudeen enlarged on bail
By Hansi Nanayakkara
MP Rishad Bathiudeen, who was in remand custody for over six months after being arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in connection with collusion with suicide cadres behind the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks, and arrested as the fifth suspect in connection with the charges of the suspicious death of the 16-year-old domestic worker employed at his residence, was enlarged on bail yesterday. Accordingly, Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Priiyantha Liyanage ordered to release the ex-Minister on two sureties of Rs 5 million each with regard to the case filed against him in connection with the Easter Sunday terror attacks.
The Court also ordered to impound the passport of the MP concerned and advised the Registrar of the Court to inform its decision to the Controller of the Department of Immigration and Emigration. When the case was taken up and based on a request for bail made on behalf of the suspect, the latter was ordered to be released. The former Minister and his brother Riyaj Bathiudeen were taken into custody on 24 April, under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), for allegedly aiding and abetting the suicide bombers who perpetrated the deadly bombings on 21 April 2019. Following this, the MP concerned was detained by the CID for a period of 111 days under the provisions of the PTA, before he was produced for the first time before Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Liyanage on 10 August.
Meanwhile, Colombo Additional Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya, yesterday, ordered fifth suspect MP Rishad Bathiudeen, who was remanded in connection with the charges of the suspicious death of the 16-year-old domestic worker employed at his residence, to be enlarged on two sureties of Rs 1 million each. The Magistrate also ordered to impound the passport of the MP concerned and advised the Court Registrar to convey the decision of the Court to the Controller of the Department of Immigration and Emigration. The Court ordered to enlarge the suspect MP on bail after the AG’s Department had conveyed that the probe into the case had been concluded.
The prosecution was represented by State Counsel Hansa Abeyratna on behalf of the AG’s Department. He told Magistrate Jayasuriya that though the reports pertaining to the DVR machine and the victim’s handwriting had been submitted to the Government Analyst (GA), the analytical reports have still not been received by the prosecution. However, State Counsel Abeyratna informed the Court that the Police investigations into the five suspects has been completed and observed that further legal proceedings against them will be continued by the AG’s Department. He added that under this situation, the prosecution does not object to the suspect being released on bail, and prayed the Court to issue an order to send the reports pertaining to the DVR machine and the handwriting of the deceased to the GA. Attorneys Prasad Silva and N.L. Shahil appeared for the fifth suspect in the trial, MP Bathiudeen.
Further proceedings of the trial were deferred to 18 February next year. On 15 July, the 16-year-old girl, Jude Kumar Ishalini, who was serving as a domestic helper at the Bathiudeen’s residence, succumbed to severe burn injuries while receiving treatment at the Colombo National Hospital. She had been under medical care for 12 days since her admission to the hospital on 3 July. Thereby, the ex-Minister’s spouse, father-in-law, and the middleman in question were taken into custody on 23 July based on the testimonies recorded from nearly 20 individuals, autopsy results, and the evidence gathered by the investigating officers, which pointed to the fact that the deceased girl was subjected to regular physical abuse.
In addition, the 44-year-old brotherin-law of MP Bathiudeen was also taken into custody and examined by the JMO for allegedly sexually abusing a young woman who worked as a domestic helper at the lawmaker’s official residence from 2015 to 2019. Ishalini’s remains were exhumed on 30 July for a second post-mortem by a Court-appointed specialist medical team. On 23 August, MP Bathiudeen, who was already in remand custody, was named the fifth suspect in this case. Bathiudeen’s brother-in-law, Mohamed Ismat and Ponnaiya Pandaram, the intermediary who had brought the girl to the Bathiudeen’s residence, were released on bail in early September. Meanwhile, the Parliamentarian’s wife and father-in-law were granted bail by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court, when the case was taken up on 17 September.