Avant Garde and KP issues: AG defends his position

Kumaran Pathmanadan

In view of the recent media reports on the steps taken by Attorney General Y.J.W. Wijayatilake, P.C. with regard to the Avant Garde case, as well as the investigation and prosecution of Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingam alias Kumaran Padmanathan (KP), it has become necessary for the Attorney General’s Department to clarify its position on these two matters, so that the public is accurately informed of the facts, states the Attorney General in a statement.

The statement added: “Where the Avant Garde case was concerned, the Attorney General acted on the evidence made available by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the observations submitted by the Ministry of Defence, Sri Lanka Navy and other government agencies it was decided that offences under the Firearms Ordinance, Explosives Act or Prevention of Terrorism Act are not disclosed.

“The CID was given specific instructions by the Attorney General in June 2015 to provide to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, any evidence of corruption relating to the running of the Floating Armoury.

The Attorney General has been informed that the Bribery Commission is investigating this matter.

“The CID was further instructed to inform the Attorney General if they find new evidence disclosing a criminal offence. The media and the public would appreciate that the Attorney General does not act on hearsay or rumour. Prosecutions can be instituted only if there is sufficient and admissible evidence, which can be maintained before a court of law. To do otherwise would be grossly irresponsible.

“On KP’s matter, while it is true that no prosecution has commenced against him as of date, not all investigations into terrorist-related activities where his involvement has been alleged have yet been concluded. In Writ Application No. 08/2015 which has been filed before the Court of Appeal, the Petitioner refers to 193 specific incidents of terrorist acts that took place in Sri Lanka between the period 1983-2009, as well as unspecified instances of criminal conduct, where the petitioner alleges that KP is involved.

“Consequently, court issued notice on the Attorney General and directed the Attorney General to file a report in order to ascertain the present position of the investigations against KP. Accordingly, the Attorney General moved for reasonable time to submit a comprehensive report, considering that information relating to 193 incidents had to be examined.

“The Attorney General’s Department called for observations from the police in relation to these incidents, but has not still received information on all of them. At the time the case was last mentioned before court on August 31st 2015, the Attorney General had received information from the police in respect of 46 incidents referred to in the Petition, where the police had reported that investigations into those incidents had not disclosed involvement of KP.

“The Senior Deputy Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the Attorney General merely conveyed to court this information, which the police had communicated to the Attorney General’s Department. “Therefore, no submission was made to the effect that the Attorney General had exonerated KP.

“Even though the police have not referred to the Attorney General any notes of investigation relating to KP to consider framing charges, the Attorney General, acting in terms of the powers vested him by law, has directed the Inspector General of Police to conduct a comprehensive investigation into criminal activities in which KP may have been involved and report whether there is evidence implicating him so that he can be charged”.

(Daily News)