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PM denies influencing Police and Judiciary


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Joining the Committee Stage Debate of Budget 2019, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held the country is now travelling back on the correct path where rule of law prevails, rejecting accusation of his involvement in remanding United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) lawmaker Mahindananda Aluthgamage’s son Raniska Aluthgamage, taken into custody for the vehicle accident that killed a Police Inspector in Colombo. 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

 “I have not instructed to remand or release anyone involved in the Borella Police incident. It is not my concern. Actually, there were no two vehicles involved in this accident. Only one vehicle was driven over the Police officer, who succumbed from injuries after spending some days in intensive care. The others in the second vehicle failed to report the accident they witnessed. Both are crimes, which we don’t approve. It is true that MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage was waiting in the Police for his son. We understand his pain. Matters will proceed according to the provisions of law,” he said.

The Prime Minister also held that he had not influenced the Attorney General for personal or petty political advantages. “I don’t summon the Attorney General to Temple Trees asking him to name people we could take legal action on. I know you have a serious headache. But you know what you have committed and was involved in,” he said.

According to Wickremesinghe, the UPFA is in serious mental agony, having failed to establish a Government last October, and also unable to defeat the second reading of Budget 2019. “Tuesday you pledged to defeat this Government. You are now in deep pain having failed to topple the Government. Even at the last No-Confidence Motion, you have failed. The TNA has voted in favour of the second reading of Budget 2019. There were 77 votes, including the six JVP members, received against the second reading. You have failed to obtain at least 1/3, if we discount the six JVP votes. You have to have 75 votes to mark 1/3. A bunch unable to obtain 1/3 in Parliament now talk about toppling Governments. Most of your members were at the Kandy meeting. You have 71 members and are trying to establish a Government,” held the Prime Minister, criticising the UPFA for using shortcuts to establish a Government.

Wickremesinghe, identifying the Opposition as a group using undemocratic moves, said: “You are rating us as a ‘tamarind Government’. I say you are nothing but a ‘chillie powder Opposition’. The traditional cut of Rs.10 from expenditure head should be recovered from the Opposition. Parliament would have been stopped if you have succeeded in October. There will be no Parliament left to raise these issues if you succeeded.”

“Parliament is supreme and will work the way the public wants. The party system and the Parliamentary system is important for our country. We should continue to strengthen Parliament. Parliament is an independent establishment, which is accountable to the people of this country. On the other hand, the Supreme Court set an example, showing that it is independent. But a decade ago, the Chief Justice was chased away. The Supreme Court judgments are given to protect the Constitution, but not a Government. There are instances the Supreme Court has given judgements against the Government,” he added.

Wickremesinghe also said the foundation stone will be laid in a few weeks to construct Sri Lanka’s second oil refinery. The new refinery, which is a Singapore-Oman joint venture, will have a capacity of 10 million tons per annum.  (AH)


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