Tensions flare as Wimal Weerawansa is taken to court

Tensions flare as Wimal Weerawansa is taken to court

By Keshala Dias

10 Jan, 2017 | 10:17 pm

The Fort Magistrate’s Court, on Tuesday, ordered that two persons including former minister Wimal Weerawansa  be placed under remand custody until January 24.

The duo were remanded on the alleged misuse of around 37 state-owned vehicles for personal political activities during Weerawansa’s tenure as Minister of Construction, Engineering Service, Housing and Common Amenities, and  said to have caused the government a loss of nearly one billion rupees.

Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa was arrested by the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division this morning on charges of misuse of state property,  breach of trust and under the Public Property Act.

Former General Manager of the State Engineering Corporation, Samantha Lokuhennadi was also remanded alongside Weerawansa.

Police said that Wimal Weerawansa, during his tenure as Minister of Construction, Engineering Service, Housing and Common Amenities, had obtained around 37 vehicles from several private institutions for his ministry on rent, for personal political activities.

Police investigations have revealed that the vehicles in question were used by the former minister’s sister, brother-in-law, active members of the National Freedom Front and staff who are not authorised to use such vehicles.

A group, including several members of the opposition, were also present at the time MP Weerawansa appeared at the FCID.

MP Weerawansa said, he has not been summoned to question about the bond issue, the copper theft, the swindling of Rs.80 million through paddy, the millions earned through Prados or the massive amounts earned through shipments, but that they have summoned him to question about the misuse of vehicles.

“Ranil Wickremesinghe went overseas yesterday after giving instructions to arrest me and a few others. We are ready to face this.”, he added.

Several UPFA Parliamentarians were also present at the Police FCID when MP Weerawansa appeared at the Police FCID.

UPFA Parliamentarian Johnston Fernando : “…Ranil Wickremesinghe is trying to run this country the same way he ran his party. Several members of the UNP abandoned the party because of his autocratic rule. He thinks the country is also like the UNP. From time and time again, he lets a new kite loose. Nothing more can be expected from Ranil Wickremesinghe…”

UPFA Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa : “…Today Wimal Weerawansa is charged for the misuse of vehicles. If that is the case, if you consider the misuse of vehicles of the ministers and MPs in this government, half the Cabinet should be in prison…”

UPFA Parliamentarian Rohitha Abeygunawardena : “…There is a sense of fear in a political point of view. The future is unpleasant. The very people who cast their vote for this government have now turned the other way. The people are gearing up to topple this government. There is a fear that the faces in Parliament will change. All the leaders in the country suddenly wake up at night saying Rajapaksa…”

A tense situation broke out when MP Wimal Weerawansa was being taken to the Fort Magistrate’s Court.

“Raise the bond scam, Mr. Bean’s scam. Why aren’t these being taken up?”, shouted the people.

A tense situation broke out again opposite the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division after the former minister was taken to Court.

A conversation took place between Wimal Weerawansa’s niece, journalists and Wimal Weerawansa’s Ssster-in-law.

Wimal Weerawansa’s niece : “…We were pushed. What would have have happened if someone was run-over by a vehicle? I was pushed close to the vehicle. It is shameful to get assaulted by men. We were not raised that way…”

Journalist : “…What is your relationship with the Minister?…”

Wimal Weerawansa’s niece : “…I am his wife’s sister’s daughter. They are thuggish aren’t they. Do not be afraid, if they are hoping to throw my uncle like this in jail, we will also come forward to stop it…”

Wimal Weerawansa’s sister-in-law : “…They raised their hand to our girls. I was not there at the time. But if I was, I would have beaten them senselessly…”

A group had also gathered around the premises of the Fort Magistrate’s Court at the time the parliamentarian was brought in.