Minister Mervyn Silva has made a statement to the Peliyagoda police over the incident in Kelaniya involving a Sirasa TV media crew, police spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera said yesterday.
According to his statement, the Minister had asked for the cameras from the TV crew as he was worried footage of himself would fall into the hands of the LTTE.The Minister claimed he and his supporters arrived at the ceremony to open the second stage of the new flyover bridge at Kelaniya when the TV crew had videoed him.
The Minister denied he had grabbed the camera as was alleged.
A police spokesman said, a team from the Peliyagoda police led by an SSP obtained a lengthy statement regarding the incident from the Minister at his home on August 9th.
The police team also recorded statements from two of the Buddhists monks who were present at the scene.
Meanwhile a protest rally was staged opposite Town Hall yesterday in support of the Minister and against the private TV station. Several supporters of the Minister were transported in buses to attend the demonstration.
The Colombo Magistrate last week ordered the police to arrest all suspects involved in the alleged assault on the Sirasa journalists and the grabbing of their camera equipment.
Colombo Additional Magistrate Manjula Thilakarane made the order after the Peliyagoda police told Court that they had recorded statements from the complainant Waruna Sampath and several other eye witnesses who were present when the incident took place.
According to the complainant, a team of journalists headed by Waruna Sampath visited the venue to cover the opening ceremony on an invitation faxed by Highways Ministry Media Secretary Shirantha Ellawala Premawardena.
The team of journalists comprised Waruna Sampath, his assistant cameraman Deeptha Ranasinghe and provincial reporter Asela.
The complainant said while they were videoing the ceremony Minister Mervyn Silva came up to them and demanded to know whether any Sirasa journalists were present at the venue. One of the Minister s body guards had then ordered the Sirasa journalists not to cover the event.