President On General Sarath Fonseka's arrest
Feb 21, 2010
When I heard about all this earlier, when the intelligence agencies were reporting to me on all this, the Army would have taken him over [under military law]. They wanted to do that. But if at that time I had allowed that, they would have said that I was frightened of this man contesting.
I accepted his resignation as CDS [Chief of Defence Staff]. I could have declined to do that [under the special Act] and we could have charged him for what he had done, what the intelligence agencies were reporting on. But I didn't want to do that because the people would have said I blocked him from contesting.
I knew he was the best candidate I could get! It was very clear in the election. He couldn't get what Ranil Wickremasinghe got.
Even with the JVP, which supported me once and with all this alliance,he never got that vote. They had the biggest alliance against a contesting President. Ultimately, what happened?
Then [after the election] the Army came and said, ‘Sir, we have to take action for what he had done.' So I said, ‘All right, it's up to you. See if you have the evidence to arrest him. If you have evidence,certainly do it. But please consult the Attorney-General.' Gotabaya [Rajapaksa] was very cautious. He said ‘no,' otherwise they would have taken him [Fonseka] immediately [after the election results were announced]. Only after going through all the evidence was the Army given the green light to do what they wanted.This is an enquiry [under military law] to see if there is a prima facie case against Fonseka. I don't want to get involved in the judicial process. One thing is that I am a lawyer myself, so I always respect the law. I never say anything against the courts, against the judges. [Except once when the last Chief Justice was trying to decide the price of petrol. I said that was the executive's, not the judiciary's, job.] My view is, ‘let the legal process go on.' I don't want to get involved in it. Discipline is an Army matter. If I get involved, Army discipline will go for a six. I don't want to do that. It is very important that democracy is restored.
Army law is very different from the general law. Now he has been taken by the Army. He is under the Army Commander. He is being given a luxury flat, the Navy Commander's chalet. If he had won, I would have been in Bogambara, in a 2x2 cell! He is allowed access to his lawyer, his wife is allowed to see him. She called my wife, who was at a banquet in Moscow; she was told, ‘ask for it and you will be allowed to see him' and she did. Doctors, everything possible is allowed. We don't want to harass him.In Buddhism, they say, ‘for what you have done, there will be repercussions in this particular birth.' Good or bad, you don't have to wait till the next birth.
I always believe in God – Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and God. There is somebody who looks after us. They say that when Vishnu looks after you, no one can do you any harm. That's why I went to Tirupati [and prayed]: ‘Look after this country.' If Fonseka had won
Had there been a different election result, there would have been a bloodbath. There would have been dead bodies everywhere. Burning houses and all that. Just before the election, even government servants were getting threatening letters saying ‘on the 26th [of January] we will come for you.‘