Aug 17, 2019

CCD to probe complaint on Gota’s passport issue

Acting IGP Chandana Wickramaratne has referred to the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) the complaints received about the validity and legality of a Sri Lankan passport obtained by SLPP presidential nominee Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Acting IGP had first directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to investigate the complaints and had subsequently removed the investigations from the CID and directed them to the CCD.

The Acting IGP is understood to have asked the CCD to examine the two complaints made by prominent civil society activists to see if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a full-fledged police criminal investigation.

The two formal complaints made to the Police are by famous painter and democracy activist Professor Chandragupta Thenuwara and democracy activist and Convenor of the Purawesi Balaya (Citizens’ Power) movement, Gamini Viyangoda. Their complaints referred to a passport reportedly obtained from the Department of Immigration and Emigration by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, currently presidential election nominee of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and former Defence Ministry Secretary and retired Army colonel.

The complainants allege that Rajapaksa had obtained a new National Identity Card while being a foreign citizen and had thereafter used it to obtain a new passport. They also allege several other violations of law at the time by Rajapaksa.

The IGP has instructed the CCD to investigate the complaints received regarding this matter, Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara disclosed.

Purawesi Balaya Convenor Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara had lodged separate complaints with Police headquarters recently demanding an investigation into the alleged granting of dual citizenship to Rajapaksa in 2005, his electioneering in support of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa that year in Sri Lanka while being an American citizen, and his presence on the 2005 electoral rolls despite not being a citizen of Sri Lanka, which was highlighted in the news media.

As reported by our sister newspaper the Sunday Observer last week, Rajapaksa had arrived in Sri Lanka from Los Angeles on September 4, 2005. At the time, he was not a Sri Lankan citizen, having forfeited his Sri Lankan citizenship on January 31, 2003, when he became a citizen of the United States.

According to reports, on September 4, 2005, Rajapaksa allegedly entered the country on a 30-day tourist visa, purporting to be a bona fide tourist. However, in a 2015 affidavit he tendered to the Supreme Court to prevent his arrest in connection with several criminal investigations, Rajapaksa allegedly stated that the purpose of his 2005 return to Sri Lanka was to support his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa in his election campaign.

Another concern brought to the attention of the police by the complaints lodged by activists Viyangoda and Prof. Thenuwara was based on media reports that Rajapaksa may have been registered to vote in the 2005 presidential electoral rolls, despite the fact that he was not a Sri Lankan citizen either when the electoral list was compiled in 2004, or when the election was held in 2005.

(Excerpts from dailynews / colombopage)