Prez Rajpakshe stays arrest of judge in tape controversy
Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has halted the arrest of a judge accused of conspiring with Opposition leader Ranjan Ramanayake to fabricate evidence in an ongoing court case. Attorney General Dappula de Livera had directed the police to arrest Judge Gihan Pilapitiya over tapes where he and Ramanayke are heard discussing impending judgments and ongoing investigations. The recent tapes controversy has rocked the island nation in which there are over 1,20,000 conversations of Ramanyake speaking to politicians, their wives, top judges, policemen and investigators. Pilapitiya had been interdicted following the recording of his statement on conversations with Ramanayake who is also under arrest till January 29 for alleged judicial interference. The Attorney General called for Pilapitiya’s arrest citing possible conspiracy to fabricate evidence in a court case. Senior minister Wimal Weerawansa told the Parliament that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had ordered to stop Pilapitiya’s arrest. “This is ridiculous, the victim of interference has been made the accused”, Weerawansa told Parliament, adding that Pilapitiya had made a complaint over Ramanayake approaching him. Ramanayake has accepted his recording of private conversations was unethical but said it was in good faith to show corruption at the top levels. The Pilapitiya’s interdiction came a few days after similar action was taken against Baddegama Magistrate Dhammika Hemapala in the same case by the Sri Lankan Judicial Service Commission. Hemapala was interdicted last week. The police have recorded statements of Hemapala, Ramanayake and retired High Court judge Padmini Ranawaka for their alleged involvement in the controversial telephonic conversations.