ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Law and Order minister Tilak Marapana Wednesday launched a staunch defence of the controversial private maritime security company Avant Garde and in the process criticised the police under his control.
Marapana, who had been retained earlier in the year by Avant Garde as its attorney, devoted his time in parliament Wednesday to dismiss all allegations against his client and even blamed the police for launching an investigation.
He started off by saying that he no longer represents Avant Garde and that information he possessed was covered by client-attorney confidentiality, but the rest of his speech was devoted to speaking on behalf of Avant Garde.
He expressed surprised over the action of police in Galle in raiding the "Mahanuwara" ship earlier this year soon after the fall of the Rajapaksa regime.
He called the police raid a political move and compared it to the "Millennium city" raid carried out by a UNP government that came to power in 2002.
Rajapaksa’s administration had subsequently criticised the raid as a betrayal of military intelligence units which had maintained a secret safe house within the Millennium City complex in Athurugiriya.
Although Marapana criticised the Millennium City raid, he neglected to mention that at the time, he was in fact the defence minister and the raid followed a claim by his prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that claymore bombs had been stored at Millennium City to attack him and other UNP leaders.
Wednesday’s statement of Marapana in parliament raised eyebrows of senior UNP stalwarts who are not suffering from memory loss. Staunchly defending Avant Garde was another UNP minister, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who claimed that neither he nor any of the attorney general’s department officials had taken bribes to white wash the scandal.
Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake in a hard-hitting speech accused several in his own government of taking bribes to sweep corruption cases under the carpet.
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake raised the Avant Garde issue while Deputy Minister of Power Ajith Perera proposed that the attorney general and police chief be summoned to parliament to be questioned about their conduct over the Avant Garde case.
JVP’s Bimal Ratnayake said both Marapana and Rajapakshe sounded like they were members of former president Rajapaksa’s cabinet ministers, an allegation rejected by Marapana while Justice minister Rajapakshe was unavailable when the allegation was made. (Colombo/November 04 2015)