President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the government parliamentary group yesterday the arrest of sacked Minister Sripathy Sooriyarachchi was not made under emergency regulations or the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Mr. Rajapaksa said Mr. Sooriyarachchi was arrested under the normal law for retaining a government vehicle despite not being entitled to do so.
According to the President, the sacked minister had been having this vehicle in his possession even before he became an MP.
He told the meeting the vehicle had not been handed over to the relevant authorities even during the previous UNP regime, and as a result it amounted to a criminal offence in terms of existing laws.
In addition, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa requested the government members on instructions of the President, to explain matters regarding the Acquisition and Cross- servicing Agreement (ACSA) to Parliament today during the adjournment motion on the humanitarian crisis in the eastern province.
The Defence Secretary said they had agreed only to provide logistic support for the US forces during their humanitarian operations in the region, and therefore there was no need for unwanted fear.
He said the US had entered into such treaties with 89 other countries in the world, and it was an advantage for Sri Lanka to be with America in this struggle.
`The Sri Lankan forces will also benefit from this agreement in their humanitarian operations. There is no provision for the supply of armament in this agreement,` he told the meeting.
He said initial action for this agreement was taken by the UNP government earlier.
Presidential Advisor Fizer Musthapa read out a letter sent by Austin Fernando as the then Defence Secretary, to the US regarding this matter.