Former Sri Lankan minister arrested over 2016 road accident

A 2014 photo shows former Sri Lankan minister Patali Champika Ranawaka addressing a press conference in Colombo. PHOTO: AP

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - Sri Lankan police arrested a former Cabinet minister on Wednesday (Dec 18) over a 2016 traffic accident in which a young person was seriously injured, state media reported. The minister called his arrest political revenge.

Patali Champika Ranawaka, who was urban development minister before current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected on Nov 16, was arrested at his home at the direction of the attorney-general, state television Rupavahini reported.

Nishara Jayarate, a spokeswoman for the attorney-general, said Ranawaka was arrested on suspicion of committing a rash and neglect act causing grievous injury and then switching drivers.

Ranawaka has said the case had long been settled with a fine to his driver but the new government had reopened it for political revenge.

Ranawaka earlier was a Cabinet member in the government of Rajapaksa's brother, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

His defection in 2014 triggered the fall of that government.

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