July 31, Colombo: The Attorney General has filed a case in the Colombo High Court today (31) against former Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and two others, for making false statements at a media conference with the intention of influencing the 2019 presidential election.
In addition to the former Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne, the former Chairman of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation, Mohammad Qasim Mohammad Rumi was also indicted in connection with the controversial ’white van’ media conference on November 10 ahead of the presidential elections.
The former minister is accused of making false statements at a media conference alleging that ‘white vans’ abducted people and dumped in lake full of crocodiles when presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa was defense secretary in the previous Rajapaksa government.
Defendants have been charged by the Attorney General under the Penal Code in connection with a number of incidents involving two other individuals Sarath Kumara and Athula Sanjeewa Madanayake, who were so called white van drivers at the controversial media conference, during the last Presidential election, and holding a press conference.
The Attorney General has charged the accused regarding the claims of abduction in white vans and murder of people and that the then Presidential candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa took the possession of LTTE leader Prabhakaran's gold jewellery.
At the media briefing with the former Minister, Madanayake has claimed that he was abducted by a group of people in a white van while transporting a stock of gold from previously LTTE-held areas. Sarath Kumara claimed that he was a driver of a 'white van'.
Mohamed Rumi was charged with allegedly giving Rs.2 million to Sarath Kumara and Athula Sanjeewa Madanayake to make the claims.
Defendants have been charged under Section 81 of the Presidential Elections Act and Sections 169 (g) and 190 of the Penal Code for fabricating and conspiring to fabricate evidence with the intent to influence the 2019 Presidential Election.
Meanwhile, Sarath Kumara and Athula Sanjeewa Madanayake have now been listed as state witnesses.