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Sri Lanka ex-minister remand exteded, allies claim political revenge

ECONOMYNEXT – Former Minister Champika Ranawake was re-remanded on Thursday over a 2016 road accident, while allies claimed it was an act of political revenge and the speaker of parliament was not informed beforehand, violating standard procedure.

“We can see they have targeted Patali Champika as their immediate target to eliminate the opposition in politics,” parliamentarian Karunarathna Paranavithana told reporters in Colombo.

Paranavithana said that the police had not informed the speaker of parliament according to the procedure, during the arrest.

“When arresting an MP, informing the speaker about it is a culture that we all have agreed, said Paranavithana.

“It is not a law but there is an agreement like that in the parliament. And it has been informed to the police department as well. At least they should have showed the warrant.”

Sri Lankan former minister and the leader of ‘Jathika Hela Urumaya’ party was arrested on December 18, 2019 by the by officers of the Colombo Crimes Division in connection with an accident where a high powered motorbike had hit his vehicle from rear.

His counsel Gunarathne Wanninayaka said after the case ended in 2016 no appeal was made to the court.

“But from 2016 to now none of that happened,” he alleged. “So any one can understand this is a political revenge.”

Wanninayaka further stated that when a government vehicle gets into an accident state officers are not usually taken to court.

Minister Bandula Gunewardana has charged that the witnesses and the injured were intimidated into silence.

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Ex-Minister Thalatha Athukorala said if the family of the motorcyclist was threatened then it should be proved with evidence.

“If something like that happened why didn’t Minister Bandula Gunawardana mention about it in parliament for the past 3 years?,” she questioned.

Ranawaka has been produced in court over the accident and also using state funds to repair the government vehicle, reports said. (Colombo/Dec19/2019)

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