Sri Lanka’s for­mer leader de­fends son over con­tro­ver­sial mur­der claim

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Sri Lanka’s for­mer pres­i­dent Mahinda Ra­japakse Sun­day de­nied his son was in­volved in the con­tro­ver­sial death of a na­tional rugby player as a mag­is­trate or­dered a fresh in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Po­lice said the body of rugby star Wasim Thajudeen will be ex­humed Mon­day for foren­sic tests af­ter al­le­ga­tions that author­i­ties cov­ered up the in­ves­ti­ga­tion dur­ing Ra­japakse’s regime.

Lo­cal media have re­ported that Thajudeen was killed over a love tri­an­gle that in­volved Ra­japakse’s sec­ond son Yoshitha, although po­lice recorded the death as a road ac­ci­dent.

“I welcome the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause that will help us to clear our name,” said for­mer pres­i­dent Ra­japakse, who is ac­cused of help­ing to cover up the mur­der.

“But the tim­ing of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion sug­gests that the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to make po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal out of it.”

Ra­japakse, who is stand­ing for par­lia­ment this month af­ter los­ing the pres­i­dency in Jan­uary, is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion over al­le­ga­tions he si­phoned off bil­lions of dol­lars from the state dur­ing his nineyear rule.

Sev­eral of his sib­lings, as well as other fam­ily mem­ber and close as­so­ci­ates, face a plethora of cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions. They have re­jected the al­le­ga­tions as a po­lit­i­cal witch-hunt.

Yoshitha Ra­japakse is ac­cused of or­der­ing the killing of Thajudeen be­cause of a bit­ter dis­pute over a woman while both men were na­tional rugby stars and rep­re­sented Sri Lanka at the Rugby Sev­ens.

Gov­ern­ment spokesman Ra­jitha Se­naratne told re­porters last week that three mem­bers of Ra­japakse’s se­cu­rity con­tin­gent had been iden- ti­fied as the men who ab­ducted and killed Thajudeen.

His charred body was found along a main road in Colombo in May 2012, but CCTV footage from the neigh­bor­hood sug­gested that he was ab­ducted be­fore his death.

Last month, po­lice told a court that they had fresh ev­i­dence and wanted to re­open the case.

Po­lice had de­ployed armed guards at Thajudeen’s grave site fear­ing there could be an at­tempt to re­move the re­mains be­fore a foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion could be held.

AP

Sri Lanka’s for­mer pres­i­dent and par­lia­men­tary can­di­date Mahinda Ra­japaksa, right, bows af­ter singing the na­tional an­them and con­clud­ing a press con­fer­ence in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sun­day, Aug. 9.

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