The Attorney General yesterday requested the Colombo High Court Special Trial-at-Bar to allow to continue proceedings on the 2015 Central Bank bond scam case with two of the accused in absentia.
The two defendants, former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and a former director of Perpetual Treasuries Ajahn Gardiya Punchihewa are currently residing overseas. The case was taken up today before a three-member permanent High Court bench comprising justices Champa Janaki Rajaratne, Damith Thotawatte and Namal Balalle.
Additional Solicitor General Priyantha Nawana, who appeared for the Attorney General, informed the court that the first accused in the case, former Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran, is said to be currently residing in Singapore and that an extradition process has been initiated with the Singapore government to extradite him and it remains active.
The Additional Solicitor General said that as the extradition process would take time to complete, the prosecution expects to gather evidence to start the trial in the absence of the accused Arjun Mahendran.
However, although it is learned that the 10th suspect in the case, Ajahn Gardiya Punchihewa is currently residing in Malaysia, it is practically impossible to bring him to this country under the extradition law, the Additional Solicitor General told the court requesting to proceed with the case in absentia of the two defendants.
Accordingly, the three-judge bench ordered the case to be taken up again on December 03 and directed the prosecution to take steps to conduct the necessary evidence to proceed with the case without the two accused on that day.
The three-judge bench also granted a request made by Additional Solicitor General Priyantha Navana and ordered to inform the court through a motion if there is any progress in the extradition process to bring Arjun Mahendran back to Sri Lanka.
The case was filed by the Attorney General during the last good governance government, charging all defendants under the Public Property Act with conspiracy to commit criminal misappropriation in respect of Treasury Bonds to the face value of 10.058 billion Rupees and Criminal Breach of Trust in respect of Treasury Bonds against the 1st and second accused and causing a loss to the government to the sum of 688 million Rupees.
The defendants include Lakshman Arjuna Mahendran, former Central Bank Deputy Governor Paththinige Samarasiri, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL), director Arjun Joseph Aloysius, CEO Kasun Oshadhi Palisena, chairman Geoffrey Joseph Aloysius, directors Pushyamithra Gunawardena, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran and Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa.