A tense situation erupted in the Sri Lankan Parliament on Wednesday as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe read a special statement to the House over a Treasury bond scam committed at the Central Bank.
Opposition legislators, loyal to former President Mahinda Rajapakse, launched a protest in the middle of the House as Wickremesinghe read his statement, calling for the Speaker of Parliament to divulge the details of the Treasury Bond scam which had been probed by a special presidential commission.
The situation soon turned violent when an object was hurled at the Prime Minister.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya suspended sittings for 10 minutes in order to restore normalcy.
“I am told that never in history had there been a brawl in the Chamber like the one just now,” Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development, Harsha De Silva said on his official twitter portal.
“Utter pandemonium in Parliament. Apparently someone threw an object at the PM while he was speaking in the Chamber. Didn’t see who it was. Disgraceful,” he further tweeted.
Even after the 10 minute suspension, a fist fight was reported between opposition and government legislators.
The Prime Minister was unhurt in the clash. However Kavinda Jayawardena, a parliamentarian from ruling United National Party was taken to the Parliament medical center after he sustained injuries in the brawl.
Wickremesinghe, in his special statement said that a probe into the controversial bond auctions by the Parliament and presidential commission showed that rule of law was once again present in Sri Lanka.
“People find this to be strange still. It is a victory for the people,” he added.
The country’s treasury is said to have lost Rs,11,145 million due to treasury bond scam and other malpractices which was allegedly committed under the watch of former Central Bank Chief, Arjuna Mahendran, and some bank officials when the new government took office in 2015.
Mahendran was appointed the central bank chief in 2015 by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe before the bonds scam allegedly took place. He however resigned a year later.
President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a three member Presidential Commission to probe the bond scam in Jan 2017. The Commission handed over its report to the President last month and Sirisena said this report would be handed to Parliament within a week.