Contradictory statements by police and govt over Ranjan’s arrest

The Police and government spokesmen have made contradictory statements about the arrest of UNP parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake who was arrested on Saturday and released on bail yesterday Jan 5.

According to the police, the MP was arrested for allegedly possessing a firearm without a valid permit after his house was searched by the Colombo South Crime Division.

However, the Additional Magistrate of the Gangodawila Magistrate’s Court in Nugegoda H.U.K Pelpola released MP Ramanayake on two personal sureties of Rs 500,000 each when he was produced in the court yesterday and also imposed an overseas travel ban on the MP.

Police also said that they recovered 127 rounds for the weapon, a 9mm handgun, issued to Police bodyguards protecting sitting MPs.

Ramanayake’s lawyers had pointed out at the bail hearing that the weapon was a government-issued pistol and it’s permit had not been renewed since 2016. According to the regulations, the permit can be renewed by paying a fine equivalent to the permit fee as a fine.

Meanwhile, the official government’s spokesman Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said yesterday that Ramanayake was not arrested for possessing an unlicensed firearm but for CDs containing 121,000 phone recordings he had made in the past few years.

He said the statement given by the police is completely false and that the search warrant was obtained from the Magistrate with the intention of finding these recordings

He added that the recovered CDs were brought to the CID on Saturday night and they revealed conversations Ramanayake had had with IP Nishantha Silva and former director of CID Shani Abeysekara.

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