Colombo, Dec 3 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Saturday defended one of his minister’s and the Police Chief, Pujitha Jayasundara, who were involved in a controversial telephone call earlier this week.
Wickremesinghe told Parliament that there was no direct allegation or complaint against the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and he was not willing to discuss this matter at the Constitutional Council, in response to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informing Parliament that the matter would be discussed at the Council next week.
“If there is any direct allegation against the IGP, please tell us. But as of now there has been no complaint against him. He just responded to a question he was asked. At a time when we are facing a huge strike by the public transportation officials, reducing the powers of the IGP will not do,” he said, as opposition parliamentarians called for a probe into the conduct of the IGP.
“I will come to the Constitutional Council and clearly state that only if there is any complaint against the IGP, will we discuss this. If not, there is nothing to discuss further about this matter. We can discuss this matter elsewhere,” Wickremesinghe said.
The Prime Minister further said that the remarks made by the IGP, interfering into the matters of the Financial Crimes Investigations Division, was not made to stop any investigation. He only answered to what he was asked, the Premier said.
Opposition parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena and JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, on Saturday informed Speaker Jayasuriya that the Constitutional Council should probe into this matter.
Speaker Jayasuiya said that he will meet the IGP early next week and the Constitutional Council would thereafter meet to discuss this issue.
“The constitutional council consists of several officials from political parties and the civil society and we will make an independent decision on what should be the outcome of this incident,” the Speaker said.
The IGP was nominated by a divided Constitutional Council in April.
Earlier this week, a local television channel had been filming Jayasundara at a public event in Ratnapura, when he excused himself and stepped aside to answer a call. The cameraman kept recording Jayasundara, where he addresses the man on the other end as ‘Sir’.
The police chief is heard assuring the caller that he had given “very clear instructions” to the Director of the FCID not to arrest the “Nilame.”
He kept stressing on this fact and said he would get back to the caller on the update of the case.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that what had transpired was a minor incident and that he too would meet the IGP and the Minister concerned to discuss the matter.
Several opposition parliamentarians have alleged that the ‘Sir’, who the IGP had been referring to was Law and Order Minister, Sagala Ratnayaka, a close aide of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.
Opposition parliamentarian, Dinesh Gunawardena said that the whole world had witnessed the conduct of the IGP and the whole country was talking about the manner in which the Police Chief had responded on the telephone.
He said the President too had released a statement that a probe would be conducted over the issue.
Gunewardena further said that when an IGP is assuring that a suspect will not be arrested to a high ranking official, then it raised doubts on the entire Police service as the Police were expected to maintain law and order in the country.
“This is a very sad state of what has happened,” he said.
President Maithripala Sirisena, in a statement in Parliament on Thursday said he watched the video and condemned Jayasundara’s behaviour.