Minister Rishad Bathiudeen today said he had never influenced the Army Commander and that he only inquired about a person who was taken by an unidentified group.
He told parliament that he never forced the Army Commander to release anyone and asked if it was wrong to inquire about a person in their custody.
"A senior advisor to the Ministry of Muslim Affairs telephoned me and said his son was taken by an unidentified group and wanted me to check his whereabouts. Then I asked the police about him for two days. I even went to the Dehiwala Police Station but they said he was not there. I contacted Defence Minister of State Ruwan Wijewardene. He told me to ask the Army Commander, as long as he was not there in the police. I telephoned the Army Commander to check if such a person was there in the custody of the Army. I did it on humanitarian grounds. I never influenced the Army Chief to release anyone," he explained.
Responding to allegations of several Opposition MPs, he said his brother was not arrested as alleged and that he obtained a report from the IGP to prove it. He also rejected the allegation that a Moulavi who was acted as an advisor to him was arrested.
He said he had only two advisors and there was no such Moulavi among them. "I also reject the allegation that my co-coordinating secretary was arrested. It was false," he said. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)