White van traced to the Oppostion

MSD personnle assinged to Ranil and Akila arrested for attempted abduction and robbery

The Colombo Crime Division on Saturday arrested two Ministerial Security Division personnel assigned to Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam for having extorted money from civilians and tried to carry out abductions by claiming to be Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s security officers.

Two members of the group, a sergeant and a constable, with three outsiders had stormed a private restaurant in Dehiwela on Friday and attempted to obtain money from its owner. They had gone there in a white van and told the restaurant owner that they were from the Defence Ministry. They had attempted to abduct some employees who refused to part with money.

They had robbed Rs 11,000 from an employee of the restaurant earlier on Thursday, according to the restaurant owner.

A navy officer who happened to witness the incident alerted the police. Police rushed to the scene to find the group leaving the place.

The police pursued the fleeing suspects them and caught them with the van. A pistol belonging to the sergeant was taken in with live rounds.

The suspects had been on leave, the UNPsaid.

MP Kariyawasam admitted that the constable under custody has been assigned to him. "Our party has nothing to do with this. He was just assigned to me and was on leave when the said incident took place," he said.

UNP spokesman Gayantha Karunatilleka said it was too early to comment without knowing the full details of the issue.

Police spokesman, SSP Ranjith Gunasekera said the CCD had made the arrests and some details had to be withheld as the investigations were in progress.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, when contacted for comment said that the two policemen now under custody for attempted abduction and robbery were attached to a ‘powerful leader of the Opposition’. "Now they and their van are under police custody. They are being interrogated for their past crimes, too. This proves that some policemen had been used by the Opposition to destroy my image. They had been supported by outsiders," the Defence Secretary said.

The Opposition had attempted to create a white van terror and put the blame on the government. "Their plan has backfired on them," he said.



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