India denies facilitating President Rajapaksa's escape from Sri Lanka

New Delhi: Indian High Commission in Colombo on Wednesday dismissed media reports suggesting that India facilitated the travel of embattled...

New Delhi: Indian High Commission in Colombo on Wednesday dismissed media reports suggesting that India facilitated the travel of embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa out of the island nation.

In a message posted on Twitter, the High Commission said that it categorically denies "baseless and speculative" media reports that India facilitated Rajapaksa's travel out of Sri Lanka.

"It is reiterated that India will continue to support the people of Sri Lanka," the tweet added.

Rajapaksa on Wednesday fled to the Maldives on a military jet, hours before he was supposed to step down in the face of a public revolt against him and his family for mishandling the economy that has bankrupted the country.

The 73-year-old leader fled the country along with his wife and two security officers on a military jet, a brief statement from the Sri Lanka Air Force said.

"On government request and in terms of powers available to a President under the Constitution, with complete approval from the ministry of defence, the President, his wife and two security officials were provided a Sri Lanka Air Force plane to depart from the Katunayake international airport for the Maldives in the early hours of July 13," the statement said.

The Prime Minister's Office also confirmed that the President had left the country.

Rajapaksa, who enjoys immunity from prosecution while he is president, is believed to have wanted to flee abroad before resigning to avoid the possibility of arrest by the new government.

On Saturday, Rajapaksa had announced to step down on Wednesday after thousands of protesters stormed his official residence, blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis that has brought the country to its knees.

He arrived in the capital of the Maldives, Male, at around 03:00 local time (22:00 GMT), BBC reported.

He was received by a Maldivian government representative at the Velana airport and taken to an undisclosed location under police escort, sources said, quoting Maldivian officials.

Rajapaksa is expected to be in the Maldives on transit before flying to another destination which is yet to be known, the Daily Mirror online reported.

With inputs from PTI

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India World News: India denies facilitating President Rajapaksa's escape from Sri Lanka
India denies facilitating President Rajapaksa's escape from Sri Lanka
India World News
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