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India denies expulsion of RAW official from Colombo

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin (in picture) has dismissed reports that the Colombo station chief of RAW had been expelled in the run up to this month’s Sri Lankan presidential election. File photo

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin (in picture) has dismissed reports that the Colombo station chief of RAW had been expelled in the run up to this month’s Sri Lankan presidential election. File photo  

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New Delhi maintains that the official has been moved out after completion of his three-year tenure.

India on Sunday dismissed reports that the Colombo station chief of RAW had been expelled in the run up to this month’s Sri Lankan presidential election and maintained that he has moved out after completion of his three-year tenure.

Reports from Colombo said that the Sri Lankan government had asked India to recall the official in December for allegedly helping gather support for joint opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena who won the polls.

“The normal tenure of an Indian diplomat in Sri Lanka is three years and all officials who have been transferred during last year have completed that. It’s a normal transfer.

“Do not read anything into it unless somebody stands up and says ‘yes’. Using unnamed sources is just hiding behind and obscuring the truth,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said in New Delhi.

Rubbishing the reports, he further said, “If somebody has proof otherwise, I would stand ready to contest that. Otherwise take my view as the last word on that.”

Asked specifically whether he has denied the report, the spokesperson replied in affirmative.

Sources said the RAW official had completed his three-year tenure in Sri Lanka in September 2014.

Mr. Sirisena had trounced Mahinda Rajapaksa in the tightest-ever presidential contest on January 8, 2015, ending his 10-year-rule.

Soon after taking charge as President, Mr. Sirisena said relations with India will be high on his priority list and his first trip abroad will be to New Delhi.

The reports from Sri Lanka about expulsion of the RAW official came at a time when new Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera is in India.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday held talks with Mr. Samaraweera.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2018 3:24:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-denies-expulsion-of-raw-official-from-colombo/article6799269.ece

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