Sri Lanka Denies Reports Sirisena Said RAW Plotted Assassination

Chinese companies have won major contracts to reconstruct Sri Lankan infrastructure destroyed during years of war

The media reports had come ahead of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to New Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speed up India-backed projects, including the East Terminal project, in the island nation.

Stating that media reports of Sirisena claiming RAW was involved in an assassination plot against him were "baseless and false", the foreign ministry statement said that the president's remarks were "taken out of context, which has given rise to further media and social media speculation and the spread of unfounded fear among the public". What President Sirisena said was he had discussed the issue with Prime Minister Modi during the BIMSTEC summit in Nepal. He also reiterated India's emphasis on "neighbourhood first" policy and the priority the Government of India and he personally attach to developing even stronger all-round cooperation between the two countries.

At the meeting there was a vehement argument between Sirisena and Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremeshinghe over the development of the Colombo Port. Sirisena is said to have objected to any Indian involvement in the project.

A senior police official that he accused of involvement in the alleged assassination plot was suspended and subjected to an inquiry, while an Indian national who had visited the informant was also arrested. According to another report, a minister was quoted anonymously as saying that the president accused India's external intelligence agency RAW of being behind the plot.

The Prime Minister appreciated the prompt steps taken by the President and his Government to firmly refute the malicious reports by publicly clarifying the matters.

Earlier last month, reports suggested that the Crime Investigation Department (CID) in Sri Lanka had questioned an anti-corruption crusader named Namal Kumara, who claimed to have knowledge regarding President Sirisena's assassination plot. "That is often the case". This was reported in the local media widely.

"We were just shocked when he said it", a source said, requesting anonymity. "Trump may not be aware of CIA's similar moves".

Modi and Wickremesinghe are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting here on Saturday. However, Presidential adviser Shiral Lakthilaka told the daily that the cancellation had nothing to do with President Sirisena's claims at the cabinet meeting.

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