News

Ex-Maldivian State Minister among arrestees

  • Arrests made in connection with websites

By Dinitha Rathnayake

 

A Maldivian national who was arrested for sexually exploiting a 15-year-old girl was later revealed to be a former Maldivian State Minister, according to Police Media Spokesman Senior DIG (SDIG) Ajith Rohana.

Four websites also have been revealed to have been involved in the sale of a 15-year-old girl on the internet in Mount Lavinia.

SDIG Rohana said yesterday (5) that two suspects were arrested in connection with the website (www.lanka.adz.com), while he noted on 4 July that the owner and financial controller of the said website were also arrested.

The four suspects were remanded till 16 July after being produced before the Hulftsdorp Magistrate’s Court.

A total of 32 suspects have been arrested over the sale of a 15-year-old girl, including a manager of a hotel who was arrested for helping to sexually exploit the said girl.

Accordingly, 12 other suspects have been identified related to the case of exploiting the girl and further investigations are being carried out in order to ascertain evidence in this regard.

The owner of the website is a 45-year-old resident of Nalluruwa, Panadura, while the financial controller is a 43-year-old resident of Alubolanda, Mavittara in Piliyandala. SDIG Rohana said the arrests of these two suspects were made by the Cyber Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The spate of arrests follows the arrest of a man by the Mount Lavinia Police on 7 June over suspicion of having sold a 15-year-old girl via a website. The man was also charged with sexually assaulting the girl over the internet and was remanded after being produced before the Moratuwa Magistrate’s Court.

SDIG Rohana said that at the time, the girl had been sold to various people for Rs. 10,000, Rs. 15,000, and Rs. 30,000 each for about three months.

“According to the provisions of the Penal Code (Amendment) Act No. 22 of 1995, procuring is an offence. Therefore, those arrested in connection with the incident will be charged under the relevant sections of the Penal Code,” he said.

The investigation was later taken over by the Women and Children’s Bureau of the Police on the instructions of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne. SDIG Rohana also said that the CID was tasked with investigating the matter later.

Speaking further, he said the suspects have been arrested on suspicion of preparing the relevant advertisement, transporting the girl, and abusing the girl. Among the suspects who were previously arrested are the victim’s mother, another woman, the person who prepared the advertisement, a three-wheeler driver, a car driver, and 17 suspects who “purchased” the girl online, including the Mihintale Pradeshiya Sabha Deputy Chairman and a leading gem businessman, he added.