Rishard Bathiudeen got Kurunegala doctor reinstated following his election defeat

Rishard Bathiudeen got Kurunegala doctor reinstated following his election defeat

Written by Staff Writer

27 May, 2019 | 9:48 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Minister of Health, Rajitha Senaratne shared his thoughts on allegations against Minister Rishard Bathiudeen and the controversial doctor from Kurunegala during a media convention today (May 27) at Temple Trees.

The minister said that the government has appointed a Parliamentary Select Committee to look into the conduct of  Minister Rishard Bathiudeen and the speaker will also open their investigations for the general public in order to maintain total transparency.

He added that Rishard Bathiudeen did not force the Army Commander to release the suspects. The Army Commander said in an earlier instance that the minister only requested the suspects to be released.

According to Minister Rajitha Senaratne, it was the previous regime that nurtured Zahran and his subordinates. He went on to say that the former secretary of defence, Gotabaya Rajapakse paid Zahran and 26 others of the NTJ through the same bank account. The minister added that he had produced evidence before regarding this matter and he does not need to do it again.

The minister said that he would not use the press briefing as a cover to transfer the director and the rest of the staff at Kurunegala Teaching Hospital as it falls under the purview of the secretary of the ministry.

He also instructed the general public including the journalist not to get emotional over the whole matter and the tests would prove whether the doctor is guilty or not and not get agitated over the fact that he is a Muslim doctor.

Despite such remarks by the minister, officials of the Kurunegala Hospital stated that the apprehended doctor, Shafi Shihabdeen Mohamed Shafi, has been charged with more than 45 complaints against him.

Dr Shafi was arrested on May 24th, following a covert police operation.

The police had received information regarding the value of his assets, which were estimated at more than Rs. 400mn, the suspect was initially arrested with the intention of being interrogated, over the manner in which he amassed his wealth, and whether there were any links to people involved with extremism or terrorism.

Following the preliminary interrogations, the police had discovered 17 land deeds under the name of the apprehended doctor and they were located in Kurunegala.

Meanwhile, the police had received several complaints regarding alleged sterilization processes carried out by him.

With the revelation of doctor’s arrest, several mothers came forward with claims that they had been subject to sterilization procedures following various operations conducted by the doctor in question.

Indika Rathnayaka, Secretary of the GMOA in Kurunegala branch contemplating on the matter noted that hidden forces are at work in the Ministry of Health and if it is to influence the ongoing investigations, 28 GMOA branches and all other trade unions are to take strong action against them.

MP Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero visited the hospital premises today(May 27) and shared thoughts on the matter.

The Thero noted that the doctor in question had contested the elections from the Kurunegala district under the patronage of Rishard Baithudeen. The Thero added that it was contradictory as a citizen to contest an election that he/she has to resign from his state offices, however, following the election, the doctor had been reappointed to his position. The Thero claimed that Rishard Baithudeen had submitted a cabinet paper and reappointed him violating the accepted procedure.

Dr Haritha Aluthge, General Secretary of the GMOA noted that a cabinet paper as such is not shocking in Sri Lanka. It is important to check whether the right measures were followed. He added that the Ministry of Health is entitled to provide an explanation regarding this matter. He went on to note that Rajitha Senaratne was directly involved in the matter and GMOA expects an independent and transparent investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, former health minister of the North Western Province, Sandhya Rajapaksa lodged a complaint to the bribery commission today(May 27).

Sandhya Rajapaksa noted that the reappointment of the doctor in question following his election campaign is highly controversial as the letter of resignation from a state office to contest at an election is similar to a letter of retirement. “A retired state employee can never rejoin state service” he concluded.

Premanath C.Dolawatte, Attorney-at-law noted that following the doctor’s defeat in the elections, Rishard Baithudeen requested the cabinet to approve his reappointment which ultimately was done.

“The law clearly states that if executive officers of state services resign to contest at elections, and if they lose, they cannot resume their previous position. The entire cabinet is responsible for this” he added.

 

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