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“Arrested” Uthayanga Weeratunga Is Released as a Free Bird While Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake Sends Police Official Team to Escort the Ex-diplomat From Dubai to Sri Lanka

By Skandha Gunasekara

The country’s authorities were in the dark regarding the planned arrest of wanted former diplomat, Udayaga Weeratunga, despite two separate teams of officials travelling to the country for his extradition.

A highly-placed police source said that Interpol had only issued a Blue Notice – which is used to collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime- and that if he had been released, the actions to be taken by the Sri Lankan Government were limited.

“If the suspect has been released from custody, at this point there is not much we can do since only a Blue Notice had been issued against him,” sources said.

An Interpol Red Notice alerts authorities to “seek the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action”.

Furthermore, the senior Police source said that two teams had departed to Dubai, one consisting of officers from the Criminal Investigations Division.

“One team from the Attorney General’s Department left on Wednesday while a second team from the Criminal Investigations Division left the country yesterday.”

Meanwhile, Police Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara, told the Daily FT that the Police were unaware of such a development regarding Weeratunga.

“We have not been informed of his release. However, a team from the Attorney General’s Department should reach Dubai shortly,” he said.

Weeratunga,the former Ambassador to Russia and Ukraine, yesterday via a Facebook post claimed that the authorities in Dubai had released him from custody as Interpol had failed to issue a Red Notice.

Weeratunga, who is also a relative of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, is alleged to have misappropriated $ 14 million through a controversial deal where four Ukranian-built MIG-27 aircraft were bought for the Sri Lankan Air Force.

On Monday Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said a team of police officers will travel to Dubai to escort arrested former diplomat Udayanga Weeratunga back to Sri Lanka.

«Our diplomatic mission and the Foreign Ministry are currently working with Dubai authorities in this regard,» the Minister said, addressing a public meeting in Mawarala, in the Matara district.

Courtesy:Daily FT