- Meeting heats up during discussion
Ministers remained tight lipped about the subject matter discussed at a special Cabinet meeting following strict gag orders by President Maithripala Sirisena.
“We have been asked not to speak about the issue,” a key UNP Minister told Daily FT, reluctant to divulge any details on the heated discussion which was centred on the possible arrest of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
The President, who is also the Defence Minister, held the emergency Cabinet meeting at noon yesterday in a bid to defend the country’s most senior military officer Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, who is currently in Mexico.
He left the country hours before he was due to be present before the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for questioning in connection to the disappearance of 11 youth in Colombo. In June, CID informed Court that one of the main suspects in the case, Lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi, fled the country with the blessing of former Navy Commander Admiral Wijegunaratne.
However, the discussion ended inconclusively due to strong opposition levelled against Sirisena’s attempt to prevent arrest, with the decision being postponed till Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s return from his tour in Vietnam.
Sirisena’s attempt to defend the CDS has been met with stiff opposition by a number of Cabinet Ministers present at yesterday’s meeting, with some levelling severe criticism at the move.