Sri Lanka: `No political patronage for criminals`
Colombo: Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has defended the government against allegations that political patronage to criminal elements had led to rising level of crime.
Responding to increasing criticism that ruling party politicians and criminal elements had been given political patronage, Rajapaksa said such allegations were not true and police were doing their job in a free manner.
"Attempts have been made to portray that political influence have led to criminal elements not being arrested and political interference had subverted the process of investigation. This is not true," Rajapaksa said, addressing a seminar here today.
He said instances of political interference curtailing an investigation on a serious crime have been nil and despite criticism the police have been able to unravel criminal elements responsible for all of the serious incidents of crime in the recent past.
Sri Lanka has been rocked in recent months by a spate of criminal incidents, including the murder of an aged mother by her son, rape and the murder of girls as young as five years, gang rape of a school girl by provincial politicians, a murder of a British tourist and assault of his Russian girlfriend.
Several ruling party local politicians are currently under arrest. But there are murmurs that investigations are not proceeding smoothly due to political influence.
The defence secretary denied that the level of crime had risen in numerical terms. But he said more and more incidents are now being reported.
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