July 23, Colombo: Sri Lanka Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen has said that he would not resign from his ministerial portfolio over the allegations against him that he threatened a magistrate.
The minister is accused of intimidating a judge over a court ruling against a group of recently resettled fishermen in the Mannar district of the northwestern region.
The parties irate over the court ruling had attacked the Mannar court complex and the country's lawyers and judges protesting the attack have boycotted court duties Friday bringing down the judiciary to a halt.
The Minister's name was mentioned as an initiator of the violence against the judiciary.
However, the Minister says that the magistrate has lied against him.
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has commenced an investigation regarding the telephone threats the magistrate has reportedly received.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed concern that a member of his cabinet had come under suspicion by the country's judicial system.
Meanwhile, Judges Association of Sri Lanka (JASL) and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) are planning to initiate legal action against the minister for obstructing justice and threatening Mannar Magistrate.