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Army unmoved by growing support for Fonseka

world Updated: Feb 15, 2010 00:26 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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A groundswell of support seems to be building up to free the arrested former army chief Sarath Fonseka. But the army is likely to go ahead and initiate court martial proceedings against him, the first four-star general in its history.

A board, of three or five members, would be constituted to hear the evidence against Fonseka, accused of planning a coup among other things.

The court martial board would be headed by current chief of defence staff (CDS) and Sri Lankan air force chief, air marhsall Roshan Goonetilleke.

Goonetilleke was made CDS by President Mahinda Rajapaksa after Fonseka put in his papers in the middle of November to fight the presidential election. Though the air chief is junior to Fonseka in terms of years of service, Fonseka’s resignation made Goonetilleke the highest ranking officer in the Lankan armed forces.

Under the Army Act, Fonseka will have the right to appeal to change officers on the board.

It was learnt that at present, the army was conducting the “summary of evidence’’ — or collecting evidence — against Fonseka. “We have to do it soon,’’ an army officer told HT.

The evidence would then be forwarded to the Judge Advocates office in the army. The JA’s office will decide whether the proof against Fonseka was clear enough to order a court martial.

If not, then the summary of evidence would be forwarded to the Attorney General’s office for advice.

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