Updated at 5.35pm

Civil society organisation Repubblika filed an urgent application on Friday asking the court to issue a European Investigative Order to preserve evidence which could prove vital to an eventual criminal inquiry into the VGH deal.

The court responded just hours later by means of a decree whereby it ordered notification of Repubblika’s application and this decree to the AG for “for all necessary steps” to be taken accordingly in terms of the law on monitoring orders.

The court reserved pronouncing itself on the rest of Repubblika’s request, namely for a European Investigative Order to be issued, to a later date.

The urgent request followed shortly in the wake of an article published earlier on Friday on The Shift News portal whereby it was reported that VGH were closing nine offshore companies in what was described as “the big clean up.”

The report claimed that the companies had been put into liquidation under an order signed, among others, by Sri Ram Tumuluri as director.

Earlier this month, Repubblika filed a 150-page long application asking for a criminal inquiry to determine whether there had been complicity by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, Economy Minister Chris Cardona and Ivan Vassallo in the controversial VGH deal, involving the running of the three public hospitals, worth over €1 billion.

Following the said “clean up” reported by The ShiftNews, it had now become clear why the suspect persons had requested two months, instead of the original one week granted by the court, to submit their reply, Repubblika said in its urgent application.

They clearly intended to clean up the 'crime scene' as much as possible, the applicants claimed, insisting that all evidence and traces were to be preserved in the best interests of justice.

In an attempt to counter this move, described as “dirty, shocking and highly suspect”, Repubblika requested the court, presided over by magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit, to order the urgent issue of a European Investigative Order and also to order the AG to ask the Criminal Court to issue a monitoring order so as to preserve all material evidence, thus ensuring that any eventual criminal inquiry would not be stultified.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi signed the application.