UNP appoints Committee to probe Ranjan’s claims

Thursday, 21 February 2019 02:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Committee to look into statement made of lawmakers consuming cocaine


The United National Party (UNP) has appointed a four-member Committee to probe the allegations levelled by Highways and Road Development State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake that certain lawmakers were consumers of cocaine. 

Highways and Road Development State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake

The Committee will be headed by Public Enterprise and Kandyan Heritage Minister Lakshman Kiriella. State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe and Presidents Counsel Nissanka Nanayakkara were also part of the Committee. The decision was made during the UNP Parliamentary Group meeting in Parliament.  

United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Bandula Gunawardana, raising the issue, urged the Speaker to make an announcement with the names State Minister Ramanayake has conveyed over a telephone conversation. 

“The Speaker has clearly informed that Minister Ranjan has given him 24 names of lawmakers using cocaine. The Speaker has asked him to give the names in writing. This is a serious allegation, and the Speaker, Minister Ramanayake, and the leader of the political party he is representing to reveal the names. With this statement, the Sri Lanka Parliament has received international and local attention. We need to clear our names as not having used cocaine. People might think that we take decisions under the influence of cocaine,” said MP Gunawardana.

UPFA MP Shehan Semasinghe proposed to carry out tests to reveal the users in Parliament. “We understand that a Committee is appointed with the leadership of Minister Kiriella to investigate this cocaine matter. Now that it is over 72 hours since Ranjan made this statement, unless a DNA test is conducted, we are unable to find cocaine users in Parliament,” he said.

Joining the heated arguments, the Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa held that some of his lawmakers haven’t seen cocaine before, and need not have tests conducted on them. 

“There is no need to check the entire 225. First, check the 24 in this list. There are many here who have not seen cocaine before,” said MP Rajapaksa.

According to Minister Kiriella, his committee will include State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne, UNP MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, and Presidents Counsel Nissanka Nanayakkara. “As far as we were able to find, no such name list was given to the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Chairman of the United National Party, and the Criminal Investigations Department. I know this is a serious statement. The Committee plans to give the report soon to the Party. However, in addition to the investigation we conduct, Parliament can decide on any investigation,” he said.

Power, Energy and Business Development Minister Ravi Karunanayake, expressing displeasure on irresponsible statements the State Minster delivers from time to time, said: “The particular Minister is doing this as a habit to be in the limelight. He has done similar things before. I think it is better to check if there are names. Inform the public to avoid the entire House getting degraded.”

Issuing a statement, Kiriella said the allegation levelled by Ramanayake was discussed during the UNP Parliamentary Group meeting that was held at Parliament. “During today’s meeting, it was revealed that names of those MPs who are addicted to drugs were not provided to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, and Chairman of the Party or Criminal Investigation Department (CID).”

Kiriella said the probe would be conducted as an internal investigation of the Party, and the result would be presented to the Party at the earliest convenience. 

On 11 February, Ramanayake stated that there are Cabinet Ministers that consume cocaine, and that he has the names of these Ministers. Later, on 18 February, Ramanayake said that he had handed over information on 24 Ministers and Parliamentarians, who use narcotics including cocaine, to the Speaker and Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Ramanayake also stated Provincial Councillors and Pradeshiya Sabha members were also among the politicians using drugs. (AH)