Nov 09, 2015 (LBO) – Law and Order Minister Tilak Marapana has tendered his resignation letter for his Ministerial post to President Maithripala Sirisena today.
Speaking at a press briefing Marapana said the decision was taken after discussing the alleged controversy involving him around the Avant Garde issue with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“I never interfered with the ongoing investigations. But there is a doubt among people and parliamentarians that the Police investigations are being affected because of me. That’s why I decided to resign from my ministerial portfolio,” Marapana said.
The outgoing Minister said that he has no regrets about stepping down and that his statement with regard to Avant Garde issue in parliament was made based on facts.
“My statement was based on the Attorney Generals statement, I only endorsed it.”
His defense of the controversial Avant Garde arms scandal in parliament earlier last week triggered an uproar among some Ministers at Thursdays Cabinet meeting who called for his resignation.
Marapana made a statement in Parliament last Wednesday saying that there was nothing illegal about Avant Garde’s operation.
“I am not aware of any local weapons aboard the Avant Garde armory the company handles only legitimate weapons and they are all registered,” he said.
“70 percent of the weapons were from the United Kingdom and other countries like France, Germany and New Zealand also had weapons.”
The minister, who resigned shortly before the cabinet meeting today said he represented Avant Garde and was only defending his client.
However, when asked about a second ship that was seized by the navy on October 5 he said he had no clue about the incident.
“I don’t know anything about the second ship. I don’t want to comment on this.”
According to a media report, an audit of weapons found that there were 59 tampered guns aboard Avant Garde’s armoury, also of the same name and the serial numbers of the weapons had been erased or obliterated to disguise the origin of the weapons.