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Ex Lankan Sports Minister held for misappropriating Rs 39 mn

63   //    16 Apr 2018, 20:51 IST


Colombo, Apr 16 (PTI) Sri Lanka's former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage was today arrested for allegedly misappropriating over Rs 39 million four years ago to buy sports goods, the police said.

Aluthgamage, a loyalist of former President Mahinda Rajapaksha, was arrested by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FICD) of the Sri Lanka police on charges of misappropriating government fund to buy sports goods, Carrom and Checker-boards, when he was a Minister, according to police.

He was produced before a local court, which released him on bail.

Aluthgamage has denied the allegations against him and accused President Maithripala Sirisena-led Unity Government of engaging in a political witch-hunt against the opposition.

The Opposition has also alleged that the FCID of the police was "illegal" and it was set up for a political witch hunt against the members of the Rajapaksa-led opposition group.

Several family members of Rajapaksa and his close allies have faced corruption allegations since Rajapaksa lost the presidency to Sirisena in 2015.

The former minister had earlier sought court intervention to prevent his arrest but the appeal was rejected.

Aluthgamage had also been arrested in 2016 over money laundering allegations.

Last week, six Sri Lanka Freedom Party ministers had resigned from Sirisena-led unity government, days after they voted in favour of a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

In a surprise move, following the resignations, Sirisena suspended Parliament for nearly a month.

Press Trust of India (PTI) is a news agency in India
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