‘No issue for UNP if Rajapaksas came to power again’ – President

“Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe or top members of the UNP will face no issue at all if the Rajapaksas came to power again”, an agitated president Maithripala Sirisena told the PM to his face at yesterday’s (04) cabinet meeting. But, the PM remained impassive as usual.

Noting that he had taken a big risk by contesting the presidential election, the president said had he lost, the Rajapaksas had planned to imprison his son and son-in-law and kill him. His remarks came when the cabinet discussed if the Anti-Corruption Secretariat should continue after having completed its tenure on June 30. When the president asked as to who would account for the secretariat, the PM said he had nothing to do with that.

Angered by his answer, the president said firmly, “the Attorney General’s Department is under you, police is under you, FCID is under you, CID is under you. But, none of the big thieves had been caught for the past one and a half years. Instead, cases have been filed against minions like provincial councilors and Pradeshiya Sabha members who support me. I know the politicians who speak to the FCID and the CID and influence them. They don’t know that all those calls get recorded. If you say no, I will get them to say so to your face. If you cannot do this, at least give me those institutions to me for three months. I will show what I can do.”

Backing the president, Champika Ranawaka and Rajitha Senaratne said he was telling the complete truth. They alleged the AG’s Department was protecting the Rajapaksas. To that, justice minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe said he was helpless, as he would not interfere with it since the AG is appointed by the Constitutional Council. Sarath Fonseka said, “We cannot do this by keeping this justice minister. He does not know which side he is in. the biggest hurdle to ensure justice in the country is the justice minister.”

However, the cabinet failed to decide on the future of the Anti-Corruption Secretariat. After a heated meeting, Rajitha Senaratne took the president and the PM upstairs and settled the matter. Both leaders agreed to his remark that if things went the way as they were now, all would be ruined, and asked what their choice would be. Accordingly, they decided to initiate court action with regard to 10 of the major charges within the next fortnight.

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