AG permits CID to summon Ex ASG | Sunday Observer

AG permits CID to summon Ex ASG

Attorney General Dappula De Livera has advised the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) that there is no legal impediment to record a statement from former Assistant Solicitor General and the Vice President of the Sri Lanka Bar Association (BASL), Shavindra Fernando PC in connection with the Navy abduction case. Coordinating Secretary to the AG, State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne confirmed to the Sunday Observer that the Attorney General had advised the CID on the matter this week, giving the investigators the go-ahead to summon Fernando.

CID sleuths had been waiting for Fernando to provide a statement in connection with the Navy abductions case pending the Attorney General’s instructions. Fernando has avoided presenting himself before the CID on two occasions since April this year. However Fernando has since left the country, the Sunday Observer reliably learns. It is unclear whether Fernando will return to face the CID.

Early last month the CID told the Fort Magistrate’s Court that Fernando has failed to present himself before the CID on two different occasions to provide a statement in connection with the Navy abductions case. On both occasions, Fernando had written to the Director of the CID, SSP Shani Abeysekara informing the latter that he would not be able to present himself to give a statement as requested by the CID. On July 3 in the B-report presented to the Magistrate’s Court, the CID noted that it had first requested Fernando PC to visit the CID on April 15 this year, and had gone on to issue summons on him, on June 27, under Section 109 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1979.

According to the CID, Fernando had instead written to the Director CID stating the reasons why he cannot present himself to provide a statement. A copy of the letter had been forwarded by Fernando to Attorney General Dappula De Livera seeking his instructions, the court was told.

The CID had previously accused Fernando of making direct interventions on behalf of suspects in the case. On February 19, 2015, CID Inspector and lead investigator into the Navy abductions case, Nishantha Silva filed a B Report in the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court alleging that Fernando, then an Additional Solicitor General and Navy Judge Advocate, made “direct interventions on behalf of individuals who were responsible for abducting persons for ransom and then making these persons disappear was the particular reason why justice has not yet been served to the aggrieved parties in this particular case.” IP Silva stated in the same report that he had informed this fact to the then Solicitor General and a Deputy Solicitor General.

In July 2018, Shavindra Fernando, who had since taken early retirement from the Attorney General’s Department, filed a motion in the Magistrate’s Court seeking to compel the CID to strike off the lines that mentioned his name from another B Report filed by the CID in February 2018.

When the motion was taken up in court, Director CID, SSP Shani Abeysekara informed court that while the criminal investigation into the abduction and murder of the 11 youth was underway, the CID had submitted a detailed report to the Attorney-General and received written instructions to record statements from several Navy officers including Commodore D.K.P. Dassanayake.

When the CID wrote to the Navy to produce the suspects, Abeysekara claimed Shavindra Fernando summoned the CID officers “in his capacity as Additional Solicitor General” and instructed them “not to summon and question” the navy officer, according to the official transcript of the court proceedings.