‘I blocked Gota’s arrest in Avant Garde case’ | Daily News


 

Fmr. Justice Min. Wijedasa Rajapakshe’s bombshell:

‘I blocked Gota’s arrest in Avant Garde case’

UNP dissident MP and former Justice Minister Dr. Wijedasa Rajapakshe yesterday admitted that he had intervened to stop the Attorney General’s Department directive to arrest former Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in connection with the Avant Guard floating armoury case when he was the Justice Minister.

Dr. Wijedasa Rajapakshe made this disclosure yesterday when addressing a press conference at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute to announce his support to SLPP candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the upcoming Presidential Election.

SLPP Presidential candidate Rajapaksa also participated in the news media event along with SLPP Chairman Prof G.L.Peiris, SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara and MPs Udaya Gammanpila, Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Nimal Siripala and Bandula Gunawardena.

Former Justice Minister Rajapakshe said that the letter signed by an Additional Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Department was a directive for the arrest of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa along with seven others under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, Firearms Ordinance and the Explosive Substances Act over the Avant Garde floating armory case.

The Avant Garde case is currently under way with multiple indictments for ‘arms trafficking’ and other offences, although former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not among the accused.

Avant Garde chairman and retired Army officer Nissanka Senadhipathi, who is among the 13 indicted on over 7,000 counts, had been abroad and absent from trial proceedings but was arrested on Thursday on his arrival from Singapore and is now in remand.

Dr. Wijedasa Rajapakshe claimed that both the then Attorney General Yuwanjana Wijethilake and former Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath, who was then in charge of the AG Department’s Criminal Division, were unaware of the letter.

He claimed that the letter directing Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s arrest was “prepared” at Minister Rajitha Senaratne’s residence.

Dr. Rajapaksha said that he had informed the President and the Prime Minister about the letter and stopped it from proceeding. The former Yahapalanaya Government Justice Minister claimed that “vengeance” was what his Government had been concentrating on from the day it came to power.

Making a barrage of accusations against the Government of which he was part of over the past few years, Rajapaksha argued that the choice before the people at the forthcoming election was whether they wanted five-star democracy or to save the country from terrorism and separatism.

“I am sure the UNP will accept the TNA’s conditions for support. Those conditions are what the draft constitution contained. The US funds were offered for the constitution-making process and the Prime Minister asked the Steering Committee whether to accept them or not. I objected stating that 225 MPs can make the Constitution for our country without foreign aid,” he said.

Rajapakshe also strongly criticized Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister Mangala Samaraweera for the Government’s co-sponsorship of the UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Sri Lanka in 2015. He described his two one-time Cabinet colleagues as “uncles of Don Juan Dharmapala who betrayed the country”. He claimed that the Government “nourished separatism and Wahhabism”. He said that his claims in 2016 that there are 32 ISIS trained combatants in the country were not properly investigated or taken seriously. He said the Prime Minister and the Constitutional Council should be held responsible for the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

“The President had nominated the name of S.M. Wickramasinghe for the post of IGP, but the Constitutional Council pressured him to send three names. When Pujith Jayasundara was considered, I objected,” he said.

He accused the Parliament Select Committee that probed the Easter Sunday attacks of white washing those who aided terrorism and paving the way for them to resume duties in their ministerial portfolios.

Declaring that he had no “secret agreement” with candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the dissident UNP parliamentarian said that his support to him was based on mutual understanding. “I don’t survive on politics. I don’t care whether I lose my Parliamentary seat. My intention is to safeguard the country. I request all the citizens to make the right decision at this election in order to protect the country,” he said.

He said that over the past few years both the UNP and the SLFP had declined as political parties.

 

 


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