Ranatunga cleared of assault charges

Arjuna Ranatunga was arrested in Galle in August last year Getty Images

Colombo: Jul 13, 2011

Sri Lanka’s former World Cup winning captain-turned politician Arjuna Ranatunga was acquitted by a court of charges of assaulting police and being part of an unlawful assembly demanding release of ex-army chief Sarath Fonseka.

Ranatunga, an MP from the opposition Democratic National Alliance (DNA) party of Fonseka, and two more colleagues — Vijitha Herath and Ajith Kumara — were charged with assaulting police and being members of an unlawful gathering.

They had been arrested in Galle in August last year while attending a demonstration calling for the release from custody of their leader Fonseka and were later released on bail.

“We were freed due to lack of evidence. The government framed us for political reasons,” Ranatunga said after he was cleared of the charges by a court in the southern port town of Galle.

Ranatunga’s family members are ardent supporters of the ruling party, but he broke away from President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s alliance and supported Fonseka.