Indian national arrested in Lanka president assassination plot sent to mental hospital

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Indian national arrested in Lanka president assassination plot sent to mental hospital Thomas told a court on Wednesday that he is innocent alleging that the police are trying to frame him in the case. (Representational photo)

An Indian national arrested for possible links to an alleged plot to assassinate Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has been sent to a mental hospital, police said here on Friday. Marceli Thomas has been put under the care of doctors at a hospital of mental care near Colombo, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

“On court orders he was seen by the judicial medical officer. He in turn asked Thomas be seen by a psychiatrist. After the psychiatrist’s examination he was sent to the Mulleriyawa hospital,” Gunasekera said.

Thomas was arrested late last month following a complaint by Namal Kumara, who claimed to be representing the “Anti-Corruption Force”, and who had alleged there was a plot to assassinate Sirisena and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the former top defence ministry bureaucrat and brother of ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Thomas told a court on Wednesday that he is innocent alleging that the police are trying to frame him in the case. Kumara also claimed that the senior officer in charge of the police’s counter terrorism division Nalaka Silva had masterminded the plot.

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Silva, the former DIG of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID), was arrested by the CID yesterday under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and remanded till November 7. He was also implicated in the alleged plot to kill Sirisena and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Gunasekera however said the tapes of conversations between Silva and Kumara did not reveal anything on the alleged assassination plot.

“We have now sent the tapes overseas for further checking as Namal Kumara said some of the conversations had been deleted,” he said. “So far the investigations have not revealed anything on the alleged plot,” Gunasekera said, adding that Silva is also accused of plotting the murder of another police officer.

Last week, it was reported that Sirisena had accused his senior coalition partner, the United National Party (UNP), of not taking seriously an alleged conspiracy to kill him and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. A Sri Lankan minister, who declined to be named, had claimed that the president had said India’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was behind the plot.

The Sri Lankan foreign ministry later termed the reports as “baseless and false”. Sirisena also called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi and categorically rejected the media reports that he had accused the RAW of plotting his assassination as “utterly baseless and false”.

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