COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday got an interim injunction from the Supreme Court against his arrest.
The injunction is valid until the court gives its ruling on his Fundamental Rights petition in which he has alleged that the investigations against him are politically motivated. The court will hear the case again on October 6.
Gotabaya, who is a sibling of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, challenged the legality of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID). He said that the FCID is politically motivated as it is functioning at the behest of the National Executive Council (NEC), a political body, and a cabinet sub-committee headed by the Prime Minister.
“The conduct of the certain members of the National Executive Council and the statements made by persons there, giving ultimatums, would impede the conduct of impartial investigations and coerce the authorities to arrive at adverse findings against me,” Gotabaya said.
The NEC is a non-constitutional body composed of political parties aligned with to the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government. It gives political suggestions to the government.
Apart from the FCID, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID); the Commission to Investigate Bribery and Corruption; and the Frauds and Corruption Investigations Division (FCID); are also investigating charges against the former Defense Secretary.
Gotabaya charged that the media is being used to level charges against him in relation to the Lanka Hospitals share issue, the purchase of the MiG fighter-bomber aircraft and the floating armory controversy.
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s supporters are happy that the court gave an injunction as they have been continually complaining about political vendetta. They also say that the on-going arrests on mere suspicion and on the basis of unsubstantiated charges are being disliked by the masses and that this will adversely affect the electoral prospects of the Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe group.
But Sirisena-Wickremesinghe’ supporters say that the people who voted for Sirisena in the January 8 Presidential election want his government to live up to its election pledge and put the “robbers” behind bars.