Avant Garde case - CID to arrest key persons | Sunday Observer

Avant Garde case - CID to arrest key persons

20 January, 2019

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has been advised to take steps to arrest key persons and name a few more high ranking officials involved in the Avant Garde case, Sunday Observer reliably learns.

The investigation has identified eleven suspects, including the two legal entities, Avant Garde and Raknalanka.

On October 5, 2015, the naval border patrol noticed a ship was entering Sri Lanka’s territorial waters and took steps to establish communication with the ship. When the attempt failed the Navy sent Doras to check status the ship which sailed back to the high sea 12 nautical miles away.

Upon realising that the ship belonged to Avant Garde and queried from its main office, they have stated that the ship attempted to enter due to low fuel.

On October 6, the Navy decided to get on board the ship although it was on high seas, for security reasons. It was revealed at that point that the ship contained 816 weapons and over 200,000 live ammunitions, which was basically a floating armory, without an approval of the Ministry of Defence.

The captain and two other officers had produced documents claiming as approval for the transportation of the weapons and ammunition, however, it had provided for only three weapons. On October 6, 2015 after the captain and others on board were arrested, a fresh letter was issued by the Ministry of Defence allowing the transportation for the weapons from the Red sea to Galle. However, the letter was not valid as it did not have retrospective applicability.

The captain who is a Russian national has made a request for him to be released and sent back to Russia for medical treatment as his health is deteriorating.

“The ship had left the Red sea on September 21, 2015 and passed several countries before it sailed into Sri Lankan waters.

In case any other country’s security personal had intercepted the vessel, it would have amounted to grave diplomatic issues,” official handling the matter told the Sunday Observer.

Legal action was instituted against the two entities and suspects under the fire arms ordinance and the explosives ordinance.