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Sri Lankan PM forms committee to expedite corruption cases


Press Trust of India Colombo
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today appointed a three-member committee of ministers to expedite cases related to corruption and fraud, the two issues that is said to be the possible cause for the defeat of the ruling alliance in the recent polls to the local bodies.

The committee members include ministers Rajitha Senaratne, D M Swaminathan and Ajith P Parera, while Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order has been appointed as the Secretary of the committee, officials said.

This is the first decision taken by Wickremesinghe after he was given the charge of the Police at yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle.

The move comes following President Maithripala Sirisena-led government's defeat in the recently concluded local council polls, in which former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's new party - the Sri Lanka People's Front - trounced the unity government by winning over 230 councils out of the 341.

The delay in dealing with cases of corruption, murder of journalists, abductions and other crimes during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime is being linked to the defeat.

Since the Sirisena government came into power in 2015, several members of the Rajapaksa family have been facing litigation, with some of them even spending remand terms in the ongoing cases.

There were public dissatisfaction after none of the accused were convicted or the cases being allowed to drag on due to alleged political deals.

"It is absurd to say that they lost the elections because they were not able to jail the Rajapaksas," Namal Rajapaksa, the elder son of the former President told reporters.

Wickremesinghe, who resisted a call from Sirisena to resign after the poll debacle, was entrusted with the Law and Order ministry which was taken away from his protege, Sagala Ratnayake who held the post since 2015.

It was alleged had Ratnayake stifled action against the Rajapaksas.

There were rumours that former Sri Lankan Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who led the military to end the LTTE's three decades old separatist movement, would be given the charge of the ministry.

Fonseka was jailed in 2010 soon after he unsuccessfully challenged Rajapaksha in the presidential election.

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First Published: Feb 26 2018 | 7:45 PM IST

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