Jan 08, Kelaniya: A controversial Sri Lankan government minister is implicated in the weekend murder of a ruling party local government councilor as the suspects arrested for the murder are supporters of the minister.
Members of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha (Local Council) including its Chairman alleged that Minister of Public Relations Mervyn Silva is connected to the murder of the UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha member Hasitha Madawala and called the police to arrest the Minister as well.
The 32-year-old Local Councilor, who campaigned against the Minister over the alleged corruption and irregularities taking place in the Kelaniya electorate, was gunned down Saturday (05) near his residence in Waragoda, Kelaniya by two men on a motorcycle.
Prasanna Ranaweera, the chairman of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Speaking at a media briefing in Kelaniya said the five suspects arrested by the police yesterday are henchmen of the Minister and therefore, the Minister is also involved in the murder of Madawala.
Ranaweera complained that the police had not acted upon their previous complaints over the possible threats. The local council members said they fear for their lives and asked for police protection
Responding to media queries the Police Media Spokesperson SSP Prishantha Jayakody said the police will arrest all the culprits irrespective of their status and have to wait until the end of the investigations to confirm whether the Minister is involved in the crime.
Speaking a t a press conference, the General Secretary of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) Tissa Attanayake said the conflict between the local council and the Minister had been simmering for a while and the government must put an end to it.
The police have arrested five suspects over the murder of Madawala and the main suspect, Rangana Kumara Perera alias Ranga was arrested last night at the Katunayake International Airport when he was trying to flee the country,
Two of the other four suspects, Sarath Kumara Edirisinghe alias Singapore Sarath who is a relative of the prime suspect and Saman Nishaman de Silva are reportedly coordinating secretaries of the Minister.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday paid last respects to the slain Councilor and urged the authorities to intensify the investigations on the murder.
The funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at the public cemetery in Pilapitiya in Kelaniya and the body will be brought to the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha premises in the morning to administer the last rites, local radio Hiru FM reported.