Sri Lanka arrests ruling party dissident as political crisis deepens | 2018-04-17 | daily-sun.com

Sri Lanka arrests ruling party dissident as political crisis deepens

    17 April, 2018 12:00 AM printer

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police Monday arrested a leading dissident within President Maithripala Sirisena’s party, deepening political tensions on the island after the head of state suspended parliament, reports AFP.

Mahindananda Aluthgamage, a former sports minister, was held over 39 million rupees ($260,000) that were allegedly misappropriated in 2014, police said in a statement.

He was accused of spending government money to buy sports goods, which were handed out in a bid to get support for former president Mahinda Rajapakse ahead of a national election. The items included 14,000 boards for the popular South Asian game of carrom.

Aluthgamage is a key figure in a faction that opposes Sirisena within his socialist Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The party has been in an uneasy coalition with the right-wing United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe since 2015.

There was no immediate comment from Aluthgamage’s faction which is led by Rajapakse who was in power for nearly a decade till he was defeated by Sirisena in 2015.

The former sports minister’s arrest is seen by senior party members as a blow to the Rajapakse-faction which controls a majority of SLFP MPs.


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