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Brigadier, Colonel, 35 Others Held For Rajapaksa Assassination Bid

Sri Lankan authorities are questioning 37 persons, including a Brigadier, a Colonel and some Army deserters, detained for their alleged role in a plot to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "More information has surfaced on the

PTI Updated on: February 03, 2010 17:00 IST
brigadier colonel 35 others held for rajapaksa
brigadier colonel 35 others held for rajapaksa assassination bid

Sri Lankan authorities are questioning 37 persons, including a Brigadier, a Colonel and some Army deserters, detained for their alleged role in a plot to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"More information has surfaced on the bid to assassinate the President during the election," an official newspaper reported quoting defence sources.

It said the army deserters arrested from the hotel where opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka was staying during the time of polling have divulged a "lot of information regarding these plans".

Fonseka left the hotel on the night of January 27 escorted by some army personnel for his house.

"... it is learnt that there were plans to assassinate the President and his family members after the final result of the election was announced by the Elections Commissioner," the website said.

The Special Police Squad led by a senior DIG, have detained 37 suspects, including a Brigadier, a Colonel, several Army deserters and four civilians under Emergency Regulations, the state owned Daily News reported.

It said 23 Army personnel including Army deserters were taken into custody after the police broke open a door of Fonseka's office in Colombo.

Sri Lankan army troops had surrounded the hotel occupied by Fonseka the day the election results were out, claiming Army deserters were accompanying him.

Investigators also claimed that the arms and cash found in a temple in Colombo had been transported to that place from Fonseka's Colombo office.

"Police have also taken two Tamil persons into custody in connection with supplying arms which were found in the temple," the daily said.

Top leaders of the opposition and parliamentarians also frequented the hotel during the period when Fonseka was stationed there.

"According to defence sources, there had been plans to attack a group including the President at several places with the help of Army deserters who had taken lodging within the hotel," an official website said.

The special squad, being assisted by the three forces, are also investigating to ascertain whether these conspirators had any connection with the LTTE, the Daily News said.

Meanwhile, Fonseka today lodged a complaint with Elections Commissioner alleging malpractices in electoral process. In a letter submitted to the election authority, Fonseka claimed there were several electoral malpractices and said burnt polling cards had been discovered at some places.

"The differences in numbers seen at the counting centers and those that were received in Colombo are a major concern," Secretary to the opposition candidate Seneka De Silva told Daily Mirror Online.

The Island Newspaper, meanwhile said detectives are also investigating an alleged plot to cause mayhem on the day after the polls and are hunting for two retired army officers. PTI

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