Lanka detains 37 in alleged Rajapaksa assassination bid

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 19:12

Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities are
questioning 37 persons, including a Brigadier, a Colonel and
some Army deserters, detained for their alleged role in a plot
to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"More information has surfaced on the bid to assassinate
the President during the election," an official newspaper
reported today quoting defence sources.
It said the army deserters arrested from the hotel where
opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka was staying during the
time of polling have divulged a "lot of information regarding
these plans".

Fonseka left the hotel on the night of January 27
escorted by some army personnel for his house.

"It is learnt that there were plans to assassinate
the President and his family members after the final result of
the election was announced by the Elections Commissioner," the
website said.

The Special Police Squad led by a senior DIG, have
detained 37 suspects, including a Brigadier, a Colonel,
several Army deserters and four civilians under Emergency
Regulations, the state owned Daily News reported.

It said 23 Army personnel including Army deserters were
taken into custody after the police broke open a door of
Fonseka`s office in Colombo.
Sri Lankan army troops had surrounded the hotel occupied
by Fonseka the day the election results were out, claiming
Army deserters were accompanying him.

Investigators also claimed that the arms and cash found
in a temple in Colombo had been transported to that place from
Fonseka`s Colombo office.

"Police have also taken two Tamil persons into custody in
connection with supplying arms which were found in the
temple," the daily said.

Top leaders of the opposition and parliamentarians also
frequented the hotel during the period when Fonseka was
stationed there.

"According to defence sources, there had been plans to
attack a group including the President at several places with
the help of Army deserters who had taken lodging within the
hotel," an official website said.

The special squad, being assisted by the three forces,
are also investigating to ascertain whether these conspirators
had any connection with the LTTE, the Daily News said.

Meanwhile, Fonseka today lodged a complaint with
Elections Commissioner alleging malpractices in electoral
process. In a letter submitted to the election authority,
Fonseka claimed there were several electoral malpractices and
said burnt polling cards had been discovered at some places.

"The differences in numbers seen at the counting centers
and those that were received in Colombo are a major concern,"
Secretary to the opposition candidate Seneka De Silva told
Daily Mirror Online.

The Island Newspaper, meanwhile said detectives are also
investigating an alleged plot to cause mayhem on the day after
the polls and are hunting for two retired army officers.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - 19:12

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