Was hiding at Dehiwala apartment building
Seven persons also arrested for aiding and abetting
Six Police teams were deployed, CID conducting further probe
Former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen being taken to prison.  Picture by Sulochana Gamage
Former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen being taken to prison. Picture by Sulochana Gamage

Former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was arrested early yesterday morning by the CID in Dehiwala. He was arrested while hiding in an apartment building at Ebenezer Place, Dehiwala, said Police Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana.

He was remanded till October 27 after being produced before the Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday evening by the CID after recording his statement.

DIG Ajith Rohana noted that at a time when there is so much criticism being levelled against the Police, it is highly satisfactory that the CID could trace Bathiudeen and arrest him within a short time.

He said that when a suspect is evading arrest, they usually don’t use mobile phones etc. as they are aware that with modern technology they could be traced. Therefore, those absconding from the Police tend not to leave any trace of their whereabouts. Hence, it is commendable that despite these obstacles the CID had managed to arrest him within a very short time.

Meanwhile, seven persons who aided and abetted Bathiudeen to evade arrest were also arrested, according to DIG Rohana.

Addressing a media briefing yesterday, DIG Ajith Rohana said the suspects arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were produced before the Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday evening (19).

He said that two among the seven arrestees had been arrested on October 17 in the Wellampitiya area. Upon interrogation, it was revealed that Bathiudeen had stayed at a house in Kohuwala, Kalubowila, prior to being moved to a house in Dehiwala on October 15.

Among those arrested for helping Bathiudeen to evade arrest is a lady doctor, her husband, a foreign employment agent who escorted the MP from the first house to the second, and the owner of the Dehiwala house where the Parliamentarian was arrested at.

The Police Spokesman noted that the vehicle used to escort the Parliamentarian has also been taken into the custody of the CID.

Bathiudeen has been accused of violating Article 82(1) of Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981 by misappropriating public funds amounting to around Rs. 9.5 million when he was the Minister of Industry and Commerce.

The former Minister was accused of misusing 222 buses belonging to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) to transport IDPs from Puttalam to polling stations in Silavathurai, Mannar during the 2019 Presidential Election.

Attorney General (AG) Dappula de Livera issued orders to the police last week to obtain a warrant for Bathiudeen’s arrest.

Bathiudeen had later filed a writ petition seeking an order to prevent his arrest.

However, the Magistrate ruled that the Police can proceed to arrest the suspects without a warrant.

The Attorney General directed the Police to arrest the three suspects in keeping with the law.

Six police teams were deployed for the arrest of the Parliamentarian.

Further investigations are being carried out by the Criminal Investigations Department.