Minister of Law and Order and Prison Reforms, Tilak Marapana has tendered his resignation from his ministerial post.

Marapana announced the decision a short while ago addressing a special press conference convened at his residence in Nugegoda. Addressing journalists, Marapana stated that he had sent his resignation letter to the President this morning.

Explaining the reasons behind his resignation, Marapana said that there were doubts in the minds of MPs and members of the public that the Avant Garde investigation would not be conducted properly if he continued to remain as Minister of Law and Order.

However, he insisted that he would continue to remain in Parliament as an MP.

Speculation had been rife that Marapana would resign since the timing of the press conference coincided with the special Cabinet meeting convened by President Maithripala Sirisena at 10.00am today to discuss the Avant-Garde issue.

Marapana’s statement in Parliament last week regarding the Avant-Garde issue drew strong criticism even from some of his ministerial colleagues in the government.

At one point, Marapana even claimed that the police, which is now under his purview, had raided the Avant-Garde floating armory docked at the Galle harbor in January to ‘score points.’

Prior to being appointed as a minister, Marapana had in fact rendered legal services to Avant-Garde, further fueling the anger against his statement.

The minister’s statement also made for a heated Cabinet meeting last Thursday, where some ministers vehemently criticized Marapana’s conduct on the issue. This prompted President Sirisena to call for the special Cabinet meeting today in a bid to resolve differences.