Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, who is facing a no-confidence motion is reported to have told the Cabinet today that he would step down from his post if President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe asked him to do so.
He said in that case he along with four other MPs of his party would resign.
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has handed over a no-confidence motion against the minister alleging that he gave political patronage to those behind Easter Sunday’s bomb attacks.
The motion has placed the ruling United National Party (UNP) in a quandary with some of its Catholic MPs vowing to support it.
State Minister Niroshan Perera asked Mr. Bathiudeen to step down warning him that if he did not do so, the state minister would support the motion.
This matter came up for discussion at the Cabinet meeting yesterday where Mr. Bathiudeen denying the allegations levelled against him and said he would resign his portfolio if either the President or the Prime Minister requested him to do so. He is accused of asking Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake to release a terrorist suspect, supplying scrap copper to the factory owned by suicide bomber Imsham Ahamed Ibrahim and influencing the police to charge some of the workers of this factory under a different law other than the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) so that they could be granted bail.(Kelum Bandara)