Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Alleged Tamil gunman arrested on killing of UNP parliamentarian T. Maheswaran

An alleged Tamil gunman was arrested today morning (January 01) following the assassination of UNP Colombo district parliamentarian and his body guard, at the Kotahena Sivam Kovil, defence sources reveal.

The alleged gunman was wounded in return fire from a personal security officer of Mr. Maheswaran, Kotahena Police said. The suspect, identified as a resident at general area Gurunagar in Jaffna, is under close custody of Police and receiving treatment at the National hospital- Colombo, sources further added.

Meanwhile, expressing views to defence.lk a political analyst said, the immediate arrest of the gunman has dismantled attempts of opposition party and pro-LTTE agents to cast doubts on the killing of Mr. Maheswaran.

More information will follow.

Press Briefing

Hon, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, Defence Spolesman expressed his deepest regret over the assasination of Mr. T.Maheshwaran the M.P. for the Colombo district. On behalf of the government he condemned the assassination by an undentified gunman who had used a micro - pistol, at the press briefing held today 01 at the MCNS.

Describing the incident, the Defence Spokesman said Mr. Maheshwaran as usual had prayed at a kovil in Kotahena and was leaving the temple when he was shot at His security guards had retaliated wounding the fleeing suspect who is now warded in the national hospital. 11 others received injuries and rushed to the General Hospital Colombo and one had succumbed to his injuries.

The Defence Spokesman said the late Mr. T.Maheshwaran had been one of the most active parliamentarians who voiced the grievances of the Tamil population. His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapakse had the highest personal regard for him and heeded his comments and took remedial measures to solve any problems pointed out by him. His Excellency has issued a condolence message and has ordered immediate investigation.

The Defence Spokesman said the late parliamentarian was an affable and sincere colleague.

Answering a question, the Defence spokesman said the late Parliameentarian was provided security based on the recommendations of the Threat Assessment Unit. Unfortunately, he did not change his routine, which fact had apparently helped the assailant.

The late Mr. Maheshwaran was provided additional security when he traveled to Jaffna. He explained that we are dealing with the most dangerious terrorist outfit in the world. In these circumstances, it is unfortunate. that certain disgrunted elements are trying to make capital out of this incident.

Vehemently denying the news report that the security of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation was entrusted to a Company owned by a government officer, the Defence Spokesman said the institution mentioned is a government concern established with the consent of the cabinet and is functioning under the Ministry of Defence Experienced retired personnel from the security forces are manning the institution he added.

Mr. Alavi Maulana the Governer of the Western Province, Mr. A.H.M.Azwer President's Advisor, Lakshman Hulugalle Director General of the Media Centre for National Security, Military Spokesman V.U.B. Nanayakkara, DIG N.K.Ilangakoon, Police Spokesman, Air Force Media Spokesman Wing Commander Priyantha Weerasinghe also participated.