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* Sri Lankan court acquits Deputy Minister accused of killing MP
Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 01:07 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 18, Colombo: A Sri Lankan court Wednesday acquitted a deputy minister accused of killing a ruling party parliamentarian 16 years ago.

Ratnapura High Court Judge Achala Wengappuli today acquitted Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame, who was the main suspect in the murder of ruling party MP Nalanda Ellawala, when the case was taken before the courts.

Punchi Nilame, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, was cleared of all charges and released.

The United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) parliamentarian Nalanda Ellawala, 29, and a police constable were shot dead in a shootout in Kuruvita town, near Ratnapura on February 11, 1997.

Following the shootout, the prime suspect Punchi Nilame evaded arrest and as police intensified the search for him, surrendered to the police through ICRC.

The Deputy Minister, who was a United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian at the time of the murder, crossed over to the ruling party in 2006.

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