Former Sri Lankan minister Rishad Bathiudeen was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department during a raid on Dehiwela on Monday morning, with 7 others for reportedly assisting the politician evade arrest.
Two of the 7 alleged accomplices are females, including one female doctor, and all will be charged with harbouring a suspect and produced in court, stated Sri Lanka Police spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana. At least 6 police teams were involved in the operation, he added.
Bathiudeen’s arrest came just days after Sri Lanka's defense secretary Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne said the state will show no mercy to Bathiudeen or his associates, with Gunaratne adding the security forces were hunting the Muslim politician.
The arrest comes despite Bathiudeen's lawyers filing a writ petition this week seeking an order to prevent his arrest. Attorney Gowry Thavarasa said the stay order had not been given as it was not supported and the police arrested the politician before the order was given.
Bathiudeen is accused of transporting internally displaced persons in 222 Ceylon Transport Board buses from Puttalam to Mannar to cast their votes during the 2019 Presidential election. Furthermore, Bathiudeen is reportedly set to be charged with Violation of Election Laws during the 2019 Presidential Election and Criminal Misappropriation of Public Funds, with state council Nishara Jayaratne claiming there is sufficient evidence Bathiudeen committed criminal misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs. 9.5 Million.