Ranjan’s conduct shows calibre of some MPs-DEW

Audio/video clips would never have come to light if not for political change



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By Shamindra Ferdinando


Communist Party General Secretary D.E.W. Gunasekera yesterday, January 14, said that the primary objective of a no holds barred investigation into UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s controversial audio/video clip collection should be to establish the State Minister’s motive.


Investigators should ascertain as to why the UNPer systematically recorded conversations and whether he was acting at the behest of someone in the then government, former minister Gunasekera said.


The CP Chief said so in response to a query by The Island in the wake of the UNP temporarily suspending Ramanayake’s party membership pending further internal deliberations on the matter.


Former lawmaker Gunasekera said that MP Ramanayake’s project was far more serious than even the Watergate scandal in the early 70s. Gunasekera said that the then President Richard Nixon’s administration was accused of intervening in the inquiry into the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Office building in Washington, whereas State Minister Ramanayake not only intervened in investigations but influenced court rulings as well.


Responding to another query, the veteran politician pointed out that UNPer Ramanayake’s tapes wouldn’t have come out if New Democratic Front (NDF) candidate Sajith Premadasa won the 2019 presidential poll. Ramanayake would have continued to record more conversations without hindrance, Gunasekera said, adding that the State Minister and his handlers could have manipulated vital sectors.


Gunasekera said that an audio clip of Ramanayake’s conversation with UNP leader and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe showed that the MP might have had the required ‘ammunition’ to influence the party. Gunasekera said that the then State Minister wouldn’t have undertaken such a task on his own. Even if the State Minister recorded a few conversations on his own, he would have definitely shared the project with at least a few persons, Gunasekera said.


The CP leader said that it would be important to ascertain actually when Ramanayake began systematically recording conversations.


Did Ramanayake’s operation begin after the change of government in January 2015? Gunasekera asked, calling for the appointment of a Presidential Commission to inquire into the Madiwela project. When The Island pointed out the three-member Judicial Service Commission (JSC) headed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, PC, initiated an inquiry, the CP Chief said that the JSC on its own couldn’t conduct a thorough inquiry.


Gunasekera said that though there had been political interventions in judicial and law enforcement matters over the years, there was never a case of an MP being engaged in systemic gathering of conversations. Ramanayake’s collection could be compared with that of a major intelligence agency, one-time Chairman of the Parliamentary watchdog committee on public enterprises said. Perhaps, there could be audio/video clips which could shed light on the Treasury bond scams perpetrated in late Feb 2015 and late March 2016 as asserted by Ramanayake in one of the recordings, Gunasekera said.


The CP leader emphasized that it would be the responsibility of the government to ensure full examination of all audio/video clips.


Referring to the leaked conversation between Ramanayake and Dilrukshi Dias Wickrasinghe, suspended Solicitor General and one-time Director General, CIABOC (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption), Gunasekera said that he was quite disappointed over their conduct. How could a State Minister address her as ‘Madam’ and she called him Ranjan. The whole thing reflected very badly on parliament and undermined the very basis of good governance and accountability, Gunasekera said.


There couldn’t have been a worse audio clip than CID Director Senior Superintendent of Police Shani Abeysekera offering to wash Ramanayake’s pots and pans, Gunasekera said. "It was certainly not a laughing matter. Obviously, Abeysekera recognized State Minister Ramanayake represented the interests of the government at the highest level. Ramanayake offered an opportunity to Inspector Nishantha Silva of the CID to speak with Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe. At the time that particular call had been taken, Ramanayake was with the premier. That particular audio was among those released soon after Ramanayake was arrested and given bail."


Gunasekera said that politics had been reduced to zero due to rapid deterioration of parliamentary standards. MP Ramanayake’s despicable conduct reflected the deepening crisis in parliament, the former Minister said.


Gunasekera said that Ramanayake’s conversation with SSP Abeysekera revealed as to how political interference could jeopardize national security. The duo dealt with Brigadier Suresh Sallay, the then head of the Military Intelligence as if they wielded power over vital security matters. The previous government’s failure to thwart the Easter Sunday attacks in spite of having specific intelligence courtesy India should be investigated against the backdrop of political interventions, Gunasekera said.


The CP Leader said that though some audio clips could be discarded as they contained conversations with models, prostitutes and media personalities, the rest needed to be examined. The former Minister said that Ramanayake’s project could have caused catastrophe if not for the timely disclosure. Gunasekera said that the precautions should be taken to prevent recurrence of systemic recording of conversations for some sinister purpose. Gunasekera emphasized that only a fraction of Ramanayake’s collection was out. There could be further devastating revelations in the run up to the parliamentary polls in late April 2020, he added.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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