Sri Lanka police finds secret ‘arms cache’ in capital Colombo

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Investigators will open up an ‘arms cache’ secreted away in several room in a conference complex in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo after getting a court order, police has said, while legislators are calling for a probe.

The arms are suspected to belong to Rakna Lanka Security, a ‘private’ security company set up during the time ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother Gothabaya was defence secretary, media reports said.

The firm was providing security to offices connected to the defence ministry, Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper said.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said an armoury in the BMICH conference room which was believed to have unlicensed firearms had been sealed and will be opened soon with a court order.

Police have also found several containers in the premises with ceramic tea sets bearing the ‘sataka’ or shawl worn by ex-President Rajapaksa and other items with his image. It is not clear where they came from.

Leader of Sri Lanka’s Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, Anura Dissanayake has called for a probe, questioning whther the weapons were brouht to assassinate opposition figures or to back-up a suspected coup attempt by the regime after it lost the election.

Legislators who were in the opposition had earlier charged the defence secretary of militarization and regimentation of society and engaging in ‘milibiz’ or military linked business activities.

Another firm called Rakna Lanka Caterers was also selling food to ordinary citizens.

It is not clear who owns Rakna Lanka, but in the last 15 years several state connected firms were set up without an Act of Parliament or under the Companies Act giving the elected ruling class to spend people’s money with minimum scrutiny or without conforming to existing financial regulations.

Other freedom activists have also called for the recreation of the institution of permanent secretaries which was the lynchpin of an independent public service.