The arrest of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is imminent, well informed sources told The Sunday Leader. Sources said that a discussion had been held last week between government officials from the legal and security establishments on taking Rajapaksa into custody to face charges against him.
Rajapaksa returned from the United States last week following a private visit and according to sources he was to be arrested at the airport.
However, on the advice of some officials, the move was dropped, sources added.
Rajapaksa is expected to be arrested in relation to ongoing investigations over the controversial MiG aircraft deal.
Sources close to Rajapaksa told The Sunday Leader that the former Defence Secretary was aware of moves to arrest him soon.
On July 26, 2006, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) on behalf of the government signed an agreement with Ukrinmash (a Ukranian company) for the supply of four MIG 27 aircraft as well as the overhauling of four existing SLAF MiG 27 aircraft. Soon after, the government announced that the MiG 27s met with the specifications required for Ground Attack Fighters.
Yet, close scrutiny of the agreement and the statements / events relating to the procurement revealed blatant irregularities and the manipulation of facts to conceal fraud and corruption.
The purchase of four MiG-27 aircraft by the Defence Ministry in 2006 at a cost of US$ 2.462 million each and the procedure followed in relation to their purchase had been clouded in mystery till Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi, two key ministers who broke away from the Rajapaksa government, made a complaint to the Bribery Commission alleging corruption on the part of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
by Ashanthi Warunasuriya (The Sunday Leader)