Basil discharged from Divi Neguma case
By Hansi Nanayakkara
Colombo High Court Judge Namal Balalle yesterday discharged Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and ex-Director-General of the Divi Neguma, Kithsiri Ranawaka, from the 2015 funds misappropriation case after Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam withdrew the indictments against the duo. Deputy Solicitor General Azath Navavi, who represented the AG, told Judge Balalle that the High Court on 30 November last year had ordered to acquit Minister Rajapaksa and the other accused in another case filed against them pertaining to the purported Divi Neguma funds misappropriation.
The defence had pointed out to the AG that the case cannot be proceeded with as the particulars in both cases are similar. After taking this into account, the AG decided to withdraw the indictments against the defendants under the provisions of Article 194(3) of Criminal Code Procedure and sought approval from the Court to do so. Accepting the request, the HC Judge discharged Rajapaksa and Ranawaka from the case.
PC Gamini Marapana, Navin Marapana and Jayantha Weerasinghe looked into the interests of the accused duo. The case had been filed against Minister Rajapaksa and three others, including ex-Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Affairs Dr. Nihal Jayatilake and former Deputy Director-General of Divi Neguma Department Bandula Thilakasiri, for allegedly misappropriating more than Rs 36 million belonging to the Department to grant housing aid for beneficiaries of the Divi Neguma project, during the January 2015 Presidential election.