The two persons who participated in a press conference with former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne on November 10 during the run up to the Presidential Election and revealed a story relating to an alleged abduction by ‘white vans’ and the transportation of 7,000 tons of gold, have been arrested by the CID.
The two suspects had been arrested at a restaurant in Mahara, Kadawatha.
They have been detained for 72 hours by the CID for questioning and will be produced before court tomorrow.
One of the arrested suspects at the press conference with Rajitha Senaratne had told the media that during the tenure of the former UPFA Government, people were abducted in ‘white vans’, killed and dumped as prey for the crocodile. He admitted that he was a ‘white van’ driver involved in abducting people.
The other arrested person said he too served as a driver to transport 7,000 tons of gold from the LTTE’s gold mine to Colombo.
The two suspects who claimed to be ‘white van drivers’ along with Rajitha Senaratne participated in a press conference held in Colombo on November 10. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Lawyers’ Association had lodged a complaint with the CID on November 11 in this connection. However, investigations were launched subsequent to a complaint lodged by one Kumudu Pradeep Sanjeewa Perera.
Rajitha Senaratne at the press conference introduced two persons who he claimed were a ‘white van’ driver and a victim of an attempted abduction.
Minister Dullas Alahapperuma who was an Opposition MP at that time had said the two suspects named Anthony Douglas Fernando and Athula Sanjeewa Madanayake accompanied by Rajitha Senaratne were made to appear in disguise at the press conference.
The CID which opened an investigation on the statements made by the duo reported to court on December 2 that investigations were being conducted. The CID told the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court on December 2 that a fresh investigation into the controversial statement made by former Minister Rajitha Senaratne on the ‘white van drivers’ at a press conference held prior to the presidential election, would be launched. Considering a request by the CID, the Colombo Chief Magistrate has ordered several media institutions to submit the unedited video footage of this press conference to the investigators for onward probes.
Meanwhile, State Minister of Investment Promotion Keheliya Rambukwella told the Sunday Observer, “the two persons who enacted the ‘white van drama’ have been arrested and their complaint appears to be a bogus one. We will not get involved with the law enforcement authorities.
“We have made a complaint and acting on it they have arrested the two persons who were supposed to be bogus, which needs to be established. After it is completed, they will confess who really instructed them to enact this ‘drama’. They are two ‘actors’. The director is still at large. So these ‘actors’ will have to come out and say who the director was. When it is revealed, I believe the law enforcement authorities will take necessary action.”
Sinhale Jathika Sanvidanaya National Organiser Pradeep Sanjeewa yesterday came to the CID to provide further information on the incident. He told the media that in addition to the CID arresting Anthony Douglas Fernando and Athula Sanjeewa Madanayake, we request the CID to arrest Rajitha Senaratne who has a series of corruption allegations. As Senaratne is an international conspirator, we request the CID to produce him before courts and also appoint a Parliamentary Commission to abolish his civic rights. Former CID Director Shani Abeysekera is also a stakeholder of the ‘white van’ and gold racket conspiracy. Abeysekera is the person who gave legal protection to that mud-slinging video footage. We would like to know as to why Abeysekera is protected. Senaratne is not the only person who levelled baseless allegation against President Rajapaksa regarding that alleged ‘gold deal’. There is a group behind this conspiracy who are paid by the various international organisations. Former Northern and Eastern Province Resettlement Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon is one such person.
He said the script of the drama to be presented to the UNHRC to embarrass President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is being drafted to level baseless allegations against him. A statement should be recorded from Weerakoon who is the mastermind of the ‘gold deal’ conspiracy, Sanjeewa said.