While rejecting media reports that some underworld figures were protected by a Senior Minister, Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka today said those reports were targeted to defame and cause inconvenience to him.
Minister Fonseka told a news conference that some media reports had stated that five underworld leaders, whom the Police were looking to arrest, were protecting a minister and had become the private bodyguards of the Minister.
He said even though one such report had directly alleged him of this incident and published his picture; the other report had only mentioned it as an incident involved with a Senior Minister by not mentioning his name.
“I do not need protection from the underworld or do not intend to protect them. I have ten Police officers, four Inspectors and Four Special Task Force (STF) officers as my guards. I have two Police vehicles too. Anybody can inquire with these facts,” he said.
“The journalist who has reported this news has some personal agenda and has criticised me at several instances. The Ministry will take legal action on that report claiming Rs. 500 million for the damages caused. There are some political forces behind these reports too,” he added.
He also rejected the claims that there were some underworld members working at his office.
While referring to the allegation that a former Police officer named Aruna Attanayake alias Police was included in his security team, he said under democracy any person was entitled to do politics and nobody could question it.
He said the person who was appearing in a picture published with the said media report, had a case filed against him in Courts before twenty years ago and now he had a settled background and added that he could not question on the number of Court cases a supporter had before entering into politics.
“Even there are Court cases against me. We cannot deny a person’s entitlement to engage in politics and to support a certain politician in any manner. I have got to know of a person named Kristo from this very media report,” he said.
“The media reports have also included the name of a boy called Nayanajith, a university student and an old boy of a renowned school in Colombo, who is innocent and having a decent family background. Police authorities have also guaranteed his innocence,” he added.
He said he had made no influence to Police over the release of a brother of a Pradeshiya Sabha member, Gihan Sandaruwan and added that only his mother had called him up to inform the injustice they had faced.
With reference to a person named Manju, he reiterated the fact that they could not inquire people of their legal history before they had started doing politics.
He also said a person who worked for him was killed by the STF and added that even it was not an underworld incident but a clash between two parties.
“These people are not with me. They are working for us in politics through electorate basis as United National Party (UNP) supporters. Every person is free to do so. I have informed the authorities concerned over this issue including the Law and Order Minister to take necessary actions with this regard,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said though there are good Police officers, the Police had become a corrupt institute, which had now been politicised and added that the situation had worsened after the establishment of the Police Commission, though people were expecting better condition.
Journalist: What do you think of these personal attacks on your image and the reason behind it?
Minister: These attacks are carried out due to political agendas. I earlier said that one of these journalists was writing columns praising Rajapaksas.
Lankadeepa Journalist: Are you saying it responsibly? Because this journalist was only doing media reports on army and crimes. We have not seen such a column. Are you saying it responsibly that he was working for Rajapaksas?
Minister: Why? Is not he writing a political column?
Lankadeepa Journalist: No, we have not seen. Are you saying it responsibly?
Minister: I have inquired… I think…
Lankadeepa Journalist: You should have corrected it. As far as we know, he has no such political involvement.
Minister: I will inquire about it.
Lankadeepa Journalist: I represent the specific newspaper. Therefore, I am asking you to inquire on it and then to make a statement responsibly, because as far as we know, he does not write anything on politics.
Minister: Okay, I will inquire and let you know.