Sri Lanka Air Force rejects reports of accommodating President Rajapaksa
| Published: Tuesday, July 12, 2022, 17:38 [IST]
Colombo, July 12: The Sri Lanka Air Force on Tuesday denied reports that embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was currently staying at a private house belonging to its chief Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, describing it as propaganda to tarnish the force's image.File photo of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
A spokesman of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) said a video released by Ajith Dharmapala, a former police officer, claimed that President Rajapaksa was staying at the house belonging to Pathirana.
Spokesman Dushan Wijesinghe said that "there was no truth behind the reports and it was propaganda to tarnish the image of the SLAF and its chief", the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.
Pathirana denied social media speculation that president Rajapaksa had taken refuge at his private house, saying the reports were misleading and intended to create public anger against him and the country's Air Force.
The speculation around Rajapaksa's presence at the house emanated last night after the president reportedly arrived at Colombo airport to board an Emirates flight to Dubai.
With the immigration officers objecting to his younger brother and former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa's departure, it was alleged that the president had stayed at an Air Force facility near the airport.
Sri Lanka crisis: Prez Rajapaksa resigns, to handover papers tomorrow
Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena's office said on Wednesday that President Rajapaksa was still in the country, dismissing media reports that the embattled leader, whose whereabouts are unknown, may have fled the country.
"This was (speculated) after a mistake made by Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena who had said he had left the country but would be back by Wednesday to offer his resignation. Abeywardena later corrected the mistake," his office said.
Rajapaksa, 73, informed the Speaker on Saturday that he will resign on July 13.President Rajapaksa signed on Monday his resignation letter, dated July 13, and it was later handed over to a senior government official who will give it to the Parliament Speaker, according to media reports.
President Rajapaksa signed on Monday his resignation letter, dated July 13, and it was later handed over to a senior government official who will give it to the Parliament Speaker, according to media reports. Sri Lankan Parliament will elect the new president to succeed Rajapaksa on July 20, Speaker Abeywardena announced on Monday.
Story first published: Tuesday, July 12, 2022, 17:38 [IST]