Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayaka has remained silent on allegations made by President Maithripala Sirisena to the effect that he, Ratnayake, was stymying investigations into wrongdoing by the Rajapaksas and those close to the regime.
Ratnayaka, in a media release has denied having met Gamini Senarath, Chief of Staff of then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, but has avoided responding to the allegations levelled against him by the President.
In the media release, the minister has categorically denied having met or having had any dealings with Senarath, claiming that he has no reason to do so.
However, Ratnayaka has remained silent on the allegations made by Maithripala Sirisena that it was he, Ratnayaka, who was sitting on files related to investigations of wrongdoing by the Rajapaksa.
The Sunday Times reported that when UNP stalwarts Kabir Hashim, Mangala Samaraweera and Malik Samarawickrama had met the president to inquire about delays in prosecution, the President had stated that it was a UNP minister who should be blamed.
The Sunday Times reported that the President had said “don’t blame me,” and that he had then “identified a UNP minister in the Cabinet by name and said he was responsible for passing information to members of the Rajapaksa family on matters relating to investigations.”
“This minister had also allegedly brought pressure on the Police to slow down investigations,” the report adds.
Colombo Telegraph’s investigations have revealed that the minister thus named was in fact Sagala Ratnayaka. According to the report the President was informed about the Ratnayake-Senarat association by intelligence officers who had followed the latter to the former’s house.
The President, moreover, is reported to have complained about Ratnayaka to Rajitha Senaratne, in Qatar.
Colombo Telegraph learns that ministers Samarawickrama and Senaratne had complained to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe about Ratnayaka and called for his sacking.
In July, Ratnayaka along with Wickremesinghe had met the President and assured him that files related to the investigation had been handed over to the Attorney General. It is now apparent that despite such assurances, Ratnayaka, possibly with the knowledge of Wickremesinghe, had effectively blocked the investigation. (By Renuka Jayasinghe)