Mahinda Ileperuma, the Editor-in-chief of Sathi Aga Aruna newspaper has reportedly been summoned to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), following a news item published on a headline translated as “Rs. 290 Million Remitted To A Private Account To Pay For Indian Fertiliser – President’s Secretary P.B. Jayasundara Exerted Pressure” raised controversy.
The Sathi Aga Aruna Editor-in-chief has been summoned to the CID as the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has been instructed by the President’s Secretary to conduct an immediate probe into the news item.
A Birthday Gift?
It is noteworthy that the summoning has taken place on the birthday of Mr. Udayajeewa Ekanayake. The two has been summoned and directly taken to the director of the CID, where Ileperuma was questioned for an hour and Ekanayake, twenty minutes.
Upon being questioned by the CID, the two have responded that they merely reported the information divulged by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Vijitha Herath in Parliament on October 22 and that the bank details were confirmed upon contacting the Chairman of the People’s Bank.
Pro-Active Law-Abiding Country!
Although the Sathi Aga Aruna newspaper is issued to the public on Saturdays, it carries the date of Sunday, in this case October 24, 2021. Sri Lanka Police are so efficient that they have commenced the investigations into the news item in question and summoned the Sathi Aga Aruna Editors on the morning of Saturday itself, following the President’s Secretary’s instructions. Accordingly, raising criticism that law enforcement of Sri Lanka follows an obtuse procedure would be problematic.
An earlier attempt by the CID to summon journalists who had covered the story of Garlic Scam at SATHOSA was thwarted as Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa intervened. But in this case, the CID has been so proactive that it did not allow any political power to slow the procedure and summoned Senior Journalist Ileperuma, a close associate, a friend and a loyal political devotee to the Prime Minister.
But this begs the question as to what will happen to the ordinary journalist community in Sri Lanka, if a high-profile senior journalist like Ileperuma himself is treated by the law enforcement this way!
It is already public knowledge that Jayasundara the President’s Secretary and Media Giant Dilith Jayaweera, a close associate of the President, are sharing a feud, as Jayaweera on a recent Facebook remark had stated that ‘Sri Lanka has enough of Jayasundara’s service.’
It is in this backdrop are the observers reading the recent events involving the Sathi Aga Aruna Newspaper article.