Photograph: IBC Tamil
Sri Lanka police have lodged a complaint for electoral fraud using a recorded testimony against former Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP and Kilinochchi candidate Sivagnanam Sritharan. Sritharan who confessed in a video interview last month that he “had illegally cast 75 fraudulent votes in one day in the 2004 elections”, has come under sharp criticism.
Several complaints, including one from Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) candidate and lawyer, Stanislaus Celestine earlier this month, were made against his confession. Celestine filed a complaint at the Jaffna District Elections Complaint Unit and at the Kilinochchi police station.
“It is an embarrassment for us that someone who has committed such an act of fraud is attempting to represent us at Parliament,” said Celestine in an IBC interview. “Electoral fraud is illegal and Sritharan could be sentenced to up to 12 months in prison.”
“We trust that the Election Commission will conduct an independent and honest election this time, and further the rule of law must be upheld. I urge the Attorney-General to intervene immediately, and for the Chairman of the Election Commission to provide the appropriate guidance to the police to take appropriate action against Sritharan to conduct a fair election,” he added.
The Election Commission of Sri Lanka has filed a complaint with the Judiciary after complaints were submitted against Sritharan’s comments. In this regard, the court has ordered the police to file a report for Sritharan’s comments. This move comes amid claims that suggest the Sri Lankan Election Commission must have helped Sritharan in casting the fraudulent 75 votes in a single day.
A testimony detailing that Sritharan cast 75 fraudulent votes illegally had also been obtained from Thivakar, the media person who conducted the interview, and the IBC Tamil program team who worked during the recording of the event. Thivakar and his team were summoned by the police to which he answered “very detailed questions on what was said by Sritharan.”
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