Ready to face any investigation - Rishad | Sunday Observer

Ready to face any investigation - Rishad

In a statement, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development and Vocational Training, Rishad Bathiudeen and Leader of ACMC clarifies various allegations made against him, stressing that they are attempts to accuse him falsely.

“Various people made allegations against me saying I ran away from Sri Lanka when I went abroad recently for official work. Some people and some media made these allegations without checking the facts about this tour.

“I visited Oman with some other Ministers to discuss about the multi-billion rupee oil refinery project in Sri Lanka with Omani government officials. After I returned from Oman, the allegations have stopped. They also made other allegation against me and these allegation are dangerous and insulting, I queried from certain media institutions as to why they are identifying me with terrorism.

“These allegations too were similar to the allegation that I ran away from Sri Lanka. These allegations have no basis, nor are supported by facts. They alleged that one of my secretaries were arrested with detonators and released.

“The alleged arrested person is no secretary of mine. He contested at the last Pradeshiya Sabha elections and was elected. Even though he was arrested on suspicion, at the court hearing it became clear that he was not guilty, and he was released.

“It was also speculated that a brother of mine was arrested and released.

The security forces and the police conducted search operations in Mannar recently. My brother was staying in a tourist bungalow in that area, at that time.

This bungalow was also searched and my brother was questioned and the vehicles in the premises were searched. These were the only events that took place. Anyone can talk to the Mannar Police and find out what exactly happened.

“Another accusation against me is a house belonging to my sister was rented out to the terrorists. My sister and her husband have been living in Canada for the past five years. Her husband’s house was given to a caretaker.

The caretaker advertised it on a website to rent it out after the previous tenants vacated the house in February.

The house was then rented out for a year. I had no personal knowledge of any of these developments. Please try to think whether it is even reasonable to accuse me on this.

“The allegation that Ibrahim, the father of a bomber, had business dealings with my brother too is totally false and unfounded.

Ibrahim and the Colombo Traders Association (CTA) of which he is the Chairman officially met me and my officials several times with CTA members to discuss their issues. My brother has no business dealings with Ibrahim’s businesses.

“There was another grave accusation saying that I had provided certain raw material to the terrorists. The IDB under my Ministry releases different raw material to small and medium industries at different times.

The IDB also assists in marketing and technology transfer to them. Since 2005, through newspaper advertisements, the IDB registers companies asking for raw material. Each company is issued with raw material based on their need. Three-hundred companies were registered by the IDB this year. The raw material for these companies was issued following proper procedures and legally.

“Even though certain individuals asked us to give special preferences to their Wellampitiya factory, we did not extend such preferences, and did not act in violation of the law. As a result of these allegations, we appointed an independent committee headed by our Ministry Secretary and obtained a report.

“The report has been handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. If there is any violation of procedures, then action will be taken based on the report.

“With regard to the discovery of explosives and arms in the Wilpattu jungles, some people make false accusations that this location is within my electorate. Vanathavilluva, where these items were found, is not within my electorate. This is another attempt to accuse me falsely.

“The father of a bomber’s wife is a member of our Party’s Executive Committee. Is that a justifiable reason to accuse me? Ibrahim, the father of a suicide bomber was on the National List of the JVP. Is that a justifiable reason to accuse the JVP of terrorism?