Saturday, April 16, 2016

President Prefers Wickremasinghe - UNP Backs Pujitha : Politics In IGP Race

From AM

The Constitutional Council will interview three Senior DIGs on Monday before is decision on the new Police Chief.

The Council has summoned Senior DIGs S.M. Wickremasinghe, Pujitha Jayasundara and Chandrana Wickremaratne for interviews, its sources said on Sunday.

It is learnt that Wickremasinghe and Jayasundara, the two most senior candidates, are front-runners for the position which became vacant after former IGP N.K. Illangakoon's retirement.

"President Maithripala Sirisena prefers his security chief Wickremasinghe as the next IGP while the UNP and some civil society groups are backing Jayasundara," top Police sources told Asian Mirror on Sunday. "Therefore, it is a tough battle" they also added.

Wickremasinghe, who also functioned as the security chief of former President Rajapaksa hails from Polonnaruwa, President Sirisena's hometown. Wickremesinghe's father is a leading farmer in the Polonnaruwa district who earned the nickname 'goviraja' for his agricultural prowess.

Immediately after the Presidential election in January, last year, Wickremasinghe met President Sirisena at the latter's Ward Place residence and urged the President to keep him as the security chief - to which Sirisena agreed.

Although he severed ties with the Rajapaksa after becoming the new President's security chief, his alleged links with some notorious Police officers - including former Senior DIG Anura Senanayake - could be seen as a 'barrier' where Wickremesinghe's IGP bid is concerned.

The President, however, was quick to appoint Wickremasinghe as the acting IGP soon after Illangakoon's retirement on April 12.

Jayasundara, who is equally senior in Police service as Wickremasinghe, was not in the good books of the Rajapaksas for the past few years. He was, quite apparently, sidelined by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa who did not give the senior Police Officer any significant national-level responsibility during the 10 year Rajapaksa rule.

However, Jayasundara's career blossomed after a new government came to power in January, last year, at an unexpected moment. Recently his was entrusted with the task of curbing the crime-wave which it a new high with a string of murders in Colombo and suburbs.

The third candidate Wickramaratne is several years younger in Police service when compared to Wickremasinghe and Jayasundara. Informed Police sources said wickramaratne's IGP stakes were meagre due to his lack of seniority vis-a-vis other two contenders.

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