ECONOMYNEXT – The Fort Magistrate has remanded former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and six others who had allegedly helped him to avoid arrest until October 27, reports said.
Police investigators arrested Bathiudeen at an apartment in Dehiwela in the early hours of this morning, and also took into custody several people who they said helped hide him from police who have been looking for the high-profile politician for more than a week
One of his Attorneys Gowry Thavarasa said he was arrested in connection with the alleged misuse of government property.
Attorney General Dappula de Livera last week instructed police to arrest Bathiudeen in connection with the alleged misuse of government funds to transport voters from Puttalam to Mannar during last year’s Presidential elections.
According to a statement released by the AG’s Coordinating Officer Nishara Jayaratna today, the CID is conducting investigations into “more than ten other cases” against the former Minister.
Many of these cases relate to money laundering, she said.
She added that the AG had written to the Acting Inspector General Chandana Wickramaratne instructing the police to submit a report regarding these investigations to the court within two weeks.
The hunt for the high-profile politician had been a talking point in the media for the past few days.
The AG upbraided the Criminal Investigation Department over Police actions over the failure to arrest former Bathiudeen last week, the AG’s Department said.
A statement said that the AG had summoned the Deputy Inspector General of Police CID Prasad Ranasinghe to his office last week and spoken to him about the arrest of Bathiudeen.
The statement said that the AG had advised DIG Ranasinghe to uphold the Rule of Law and act in a manner that “builds the confidence that the general public has in the Police not lose their confidence.”
Bathiudeen’s lawyers have filed a writ petition before the Court of Appeal to prevent his arrest after the Police said they have deployed six teams to look for him.
Thavarasa said the stay order had not been given as it was not supported and is due to come up tomorrow. Police arrested the politician before the order was given.
Last Tuesday Police nabbed his accountant and police bodyguard the Police spokesman said.
Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana told reporters that Alagaratnam Manoranjan, the accountant who allegedly organized the 222 buses to transport the voters at state expense had been arrested.
The Police officer who was assigned for Bathiudeen’s security is also in custody. (Colombo, October 19, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana