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Bharatha killing:

‘Only one suspect remaining, eight arrested’

‘There is only one suspect to be arrested in connection with the killing of Presidential Director General on Trade Union Affairs Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. The government’s operations to seize illegal weapons are in progress with vigour following the incident,’ Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratna yesterday told the Daily News.

The suspect is a former Special Forces officer. He will be arrested, said Senaratna.

Asked for his comments about various accusations that have been leveled against the government by the Opposition UNP that the government was trying to protect those responsible for Bharatha’s killing, Dr Senaratna described them as baseless.

“How can the UNP accuse the government of protecting those who are responsible for the incident, when all suspects involved in the incident are in Police custody,” he asked.

‘Eight suspects have been arrested in this connection, including the suspect who the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe challeged the government to arrest,’ he said. The Opposition Leader challenged the government to arrest the suspect “Chaminda” if it can ,and it did. He is in Police custody now, he said. It was because of the action taken by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that two suspects who fled the country to Tamil Nadu could have been arrested, he said.” It was this arrest that facilitated the arrest of the other suspects”, he said.

Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa personally intervened to get the Tamil Nadu Police chiefs to arrest the suspects, who fled the country, said Senaratna.

‘They were said to have been arrested using 20 Police officers in an operation carried out by Tamil Nadu Police Service.

Commenting on the government’s ongoing operations to seize illegal weapons, Senaratna said that steps were taken to strengthen this operation following the shooting incident. However, the programme has been operative since the defeat of terrorism in the country, although some UNP MPs have been maintaining that the government launched the operation of seizing illegal weapons and drugs only after Bharatha’s killing, he added.

 

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