Avant Garde floating armoury case: PCoI Chairman upbraids DSG Bandara
By Faadhila Thassim
Former Solicitor General, Suhada Gamlath PC rejected a claim made by former Deputy Solicitor General Wasantha Navaratne Bandara PC that Gamlath had asked him to take stern action against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Chairman of Avant Garde, Nissanka Senadhipathi over the Avant Garde floating armoury case in 2015.
Bandara made this claim while cross-examining Gamlath at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) appointed to probe into political victimisation of public officials during the tenure of the United National Front Government. Gamlath testifying before the PCoI yesterday (13) as a witness to a complaint filed at the PCoI by Senadhipathi, claiming that he was politically victimised when he was arrested for the Avant Garde case.
Bandara who was made a respondent to the complaint, further claimed that Gamlath had asked him to take action against Rajapaksa and Senadhipathi as the case was of a complicated nature. Gamlath rejecting this claim, said he had only instructed Bandara to investigate into the incident as there was insufficient information with regard to the case to file any charges or to order any arrest.
Gamlath further rejected the claim made by Bandara that although Gamlath initially instructed Bandara to take action, he had subsequently got into a deal with Avant Garde following which he had ordered the release of Senadhipathi from the case.
Bandara and the Lawyer appearing on behalf of Senadhipathi, Kuvera De Zoysa PC had a heated argument with regard to the manner in which Bandara framed a question for Gamlath concerning political affiliations, the latter point based on the fact that Gamlath had attended a political meeting of Rajapaksa.
De Zoysa said that Bandara was defaming the witness and the Chairman of the PCoI, retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Upali Abeyratne ordered Bandara to carry out the cross examination in a proper manner, adding that he could be arrested and produced before Court if he fails to do so.