President's security chief arrested

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 02 April 2002, 10:41 GMT]
President's security division chief Mr.Nihal Karunaratne was arrested Tuesday evening at Colombo's leading private hospital, Navaloka by a team of criminal investigation department officials (CID) amidst tight security. Mr.Karunaratne is to be produced in Kandy magistrate's court Wednesday, CID sources said.

The arrest was made on the orders of the Kandy Magistrate Pradeep Hettiarachchi Tuesday following the rejection of the medical certificate submitted on behalf of the suspect Mr.Karunaratne.

In this case Mr.Nihal Karunaratne, Director of the PSD which is charge of the security of President Chandrika Kumaratunge has been charged for assaulting and shooting the supporters of Minister S.B.Dissanayake on the general election day in December last year.

It was stated in the medical certificate submitted on behalf of Mr.Nihal Karunaratne, that he was not in a position to attend court as he was undergoing treatment in Navaloka hospital. However the Magistrate Mr. Pradeep Hettiarachchi noticed the date appeared in the medical certificate did not tally with the hearing date of the case. Hence he rejected the medical certificate and ordered the immediate arrest of the PSD chief.

It was revealed Monday at the committee stage budget debate on the allocation to the President's vote that the strength of the Presidential Security Division was about 1600.

This year the United National Front (UNF) government has reduced the budgetary allocation to the Presidential Secretariat. This has caused anger in the main opposition.

PA parliamentarian and a former minister Nimal Sripala de Silva said during the debate that the reduction of budgetary allocation to the President's office would endanger the life of President Chandrika Kumaratunge by demoralising her security division.

"The UNF government is trying to clip the wings of the President by reducing the allocation to her office," said a former minister Mr.Dinesh Gunawardene and Colombo district PA parliamentarian.


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