By Yohan Perera in Kinniya
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had cleared former Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, and therefore Parliament should act accordingly.
■the army chief later denied and said the minister did not attempt to influence him
Addressing a public meeting in Kinniya to mark the opening of a building for Kinniya Central College, the Prime Minister said there were as many as 300 allegations against Minister Bathiudeen and a bulk of them were baseless.
“After the Easter Sunday attacks there was an allegation that Minister Bathiudeen tried to influence the Army Commander into releasing the son of an acquaintance. However, the Army chief later denied and said the minister did not attempt to influence him. The CID had sent a report on Mr. Bathiudeen to the Speaker,” he said.
He said instructions had been given to the Parliamentary Select Committee probing the Easter Sunday attacks and the CID to brief Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.
“Catholics have legitimate concerns about the investigation process. They are entitled to know whether investigations are being carried out properly or not,” he said.
“The CID has completed investigations into the Easter Sunday attacks and a report has been handed over to the Speaker. He had referred it to me and to the Parliamentary Select Committee probing the bomb attacks,” the PM said.
“However some people have said they reject the CID reports. They have said they are not satisfied with the investigations that were being carried out with regards to former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. The reports have cleared Mr. Bathiudeen when it comes to 300 complaints filed against him by various individuals. However the CID has submitted their investigation reports to the Attorney General and had wanted him to file legal action against some suspects. It is not advisable to reject these reports as lawyers for some of those facing charges will be able to argue that it is not possible to file legal action against their clients as certain persons have rejected the CID reports as lacking credibility,” the PM added.
The Prime Minister said all ethnic groups should be proud to be Sri Lankans. “The Sinhalese will not lose anything by calling themselves Sri Lankans. Likewise Tamils and Muslims should first think of themselves as Sri Lankan before identifying with their respective ethnicities,” he said.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declares open the new pavilion of the Kinniya Central College in Trincomalee
Pic by Pradeep Pathirana
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