Police still looking for MP Bathiudeen, arrest accountant and bodyguard
ECONOMYNEXT – Police looking to arrest former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen in connection with the alleged misuse of government funds to transport voters from Puttalam to Mannar during last year’s Presidential elections have nabbed his accountant and police bodyguard the Police spokesman said.
They have failed to find Bathiudeen who is a current Member of Parliament.
Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana told reporters this afternoon that Alagaratnam Manoranjan, the accountant who allegedly organized the 222 buses to transport the voters at state expense had been arrested last evening.
The Police officer who was assigned for Bathiudeen’s security is also in custody. “A police officer who is assigned to protect a VIP cannot aid or abet a person who is wanted by the police for their inquiries,” Rohana said.
Two vehicles, a Range Rover SUV and a Toyota Axio saloon were also seized along with two drivers, he said.
The hunt, he said for Bathiudeen is ongoing.
The voters in question are former Muslim residents of Mannar who were driven out from their homes by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the early stages of the separatist war.
About 10,000 of them have been living in the Puttalam area for a long period of time. Of them, 4,500 remain registered as voters in Mannar.
Bathiudeen’s political party the All Ceylon Makkal Congress draws much of its support from this internally displaced group of people.
During the Presidential election when they were transported to Mannar in CTB buses unknown parties opened fire on the buses, pelted stones and lay tree trunks across the roads to prevent them from reaching their polling booths.
However, during the recently concluded Parliamentary General Elections, these voters were provided with special voting booths in Puttalam. (Colombo October 14, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana