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Indian suspect in Sri Lankan president’s assassination bid alleges frame-up


Colombo, Oct 24: An Indian national arrested for possible links to an alleged plot to assassinate Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has told a court that he is innocent saying the police are trying to frame him in the case.

Maithripala Sirisena

Marceli Thomas appeared in court before the Colombo Fort magistrate on Tuesday.

[Lanka govt rejects reports on President Sirisena's assassination plot by India's R&AW]

Thomas said in a written statement that he is innocent but the Sri Lankan police's criminal investigation department was trying to implicate him in the plot. He said he had been under detention for 34 days and as a result his health had deteriorated.

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

Kumara also claimed that the senior police officer in charge of the police's counter terrorism division Nalaka Silva had masterminded the plot. Silva has since been interdicted and questioned extensively by the police CID.

[Sirisena praises Pakistan's progress via CPEC; Sri Lanka deftly conducts its India & Pak policies]

The court was also told that voice tapes provided by Kumara and Silva connected to the alleged plot have been verified by the government as carrying their voices.

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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