We were frightened when the white van and the armed army officials were arrested, said Cabinet Spokesperson Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratne.
Addressing journalists at a media briefing held yesterday (23) the Minister clarified the details behind the much discussed white van incident that took place Monday (20). According to him there are 667 similar vehicles which were confiscated by the army in 2010 from the LTTE and were used for army operations. The order to use the vehicles had been given by former secretary of defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he added.
“When these 667 vehicles were confiscated in 2010 from the LTTE, they were ordered to be used in army operations by the former secretary of defence. These officials, who are part of the security detail of Major General Prasanna Silva, were out on a personal affair when they were arrested by the Mirihana Police. These officers are not guilty of anything.”
Speaking further he said that several members of the Opposition are taking advantage of these coincidental events.
“Major General Prasanna Silva is a very close friend of the former secretary of defence Gotha. The Major General was feared even by Vellupillai Prabhakaran. Even we were a bit frightened when they were arrested and wondered what their alleged operation was. But politicians like Wimal Weerawansa claimed that this was an attempt on the life of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa. It is sad that these politicians are using such incidents to their advantage in their so-called politics,” he opined.
Army Spokesperson, Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera who was also present at the media briefing further clarified the details behind the situation.
According to him the firearm and 13 bullets which were apprehended in the arrest had belonged to the Major General and had been given to the army officers by him. He added that the forged number plate of the vehicle was put there as it was a confiscated vehicle which was used by the army mainly for security purposes.
The investigation has been referred to the Criminal Investigation Department to avoid a conflict of interest.