February 27, 2019 / 12:19 PM / 9 months ago

Sri Lankan police drop case in discredited assassination plot

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankan police told a court on Wednesday they would not press charges against an Indian national over an alleged and discredited plot to kill the president due to lack of evidence, bringing a political drama to a low-key finale.

Inaction over the plot resulted in President Maithripala Sirisena ordering the removal of Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and dissolving parliament in November, replacing him with Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Supreme Court ruled the move unconstitutional, forcing Sisrisena to reinstate Wickremesinghe in December, ending a brief period of chaos in the South Asian island nation.

“There is no sufficient evidence to file charges against him and we will not file charges against him,” S. Wijesuriya, an investigating official, told the Colombo Magistrate Court.

The court, however, ordered the Indian, Marsili Thomas, from the southern Indian state of Kerala, to remain in custody for two weeks as police probe an allegation that he overstayed his visa.

Thomas, who was silent throughout the hearing, was arrested in September over the alleged plot after an Indian newspaper reported that Sirisena had accused India’s intelligence services of involvement.

Both New Delhi and Colombo have since rejected claims made in the report.

Writing by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sudarshan Varadhan and Nick Macfie

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