(Excerpts from the “Sunday Times” Political Column of August 13th 2017)
“President Sirisena, who declared he would heed their request made a disclosure that became the talking point among those present at the CC meeting. He noted ‘Joint Opposition’ members were jubilant over the events related to Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s resignation. He warned that their euphoria would be short lived. Speaking in Sinhala, he said, “I know what is going to happen to them by next week.”
Sources close to the Presidency said Sirisena had hinted about the investigations that had gone on in high profile cases — those relating to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and members of his family.
Since admonishing the UNP leadership at a Cabinet meeting last month for colluding with those concerned to stall the probes, Sirisena has personally taken initiatives to expedite some important probes. Further impetus came when the UNP leaders, under pressure after the Karunanayake episode, began to make public comparisons about the bigger volume of bribery and corruption under the previous regime. Some even said so in Parliament, notwithstanding the fact that the UNP was accused of delaying them.
Those remarks only drew sarcastic retorts from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Referring to the Karunanayake saga, he declared, it was nothing but divine retribution for the accusations made against him and his family. Yet, he was conscious that a crackdown against him and the family was imminent. Commenting to a group of ‘JO’ members on the Karunanayake episode (before his resignation and statement in Parliament), he said the Foreign Minister quitting the Cabinet would lead to other developments.
To ‘make things equal,’ Rajapaksa told them the Government could arrest him or his family members and urged that the ‘JO’ should be mindful of this. They would produce them in Courts and launch a propaganda drive, he said.