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AG at meeting with Cardinal stresses need to study all 87 volumes of PCoI report

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… directs IGP to probe four persons including Sara

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, has informed the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith that it is futile to proceed with the 2019 Easter Sunday case unless he receives access to all volumes of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) report, and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) completed its investigations into the attacks.

The AG met the Archbishop on Monday (8).

The meeting took place against the backdrop of the PCoI decision to deny the AG access to 22 volumes out of 87 on the basis that they contained sensitive information, the disclosure of which could be detrimental to national security.

Coordinating Officer to AG State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne yesterday revealed that the AG had told the Cardinal that as the final report received by him didn’t provide any specific information or evidence regarding the Easter Sunday mastermind, conspirators and those directly or indirectly involved, the need to examine all volumes was of pivotal importance.

The meeting led to an extraordinary gathering of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Sri Lanka the following day and public demand for the immediate releasing of what the P CoI called sensitive documents. The Island learns that each volume consists of approximately 600 pages.

State Counsel Jayaratne said that the AG had also instructed IGP C.D. Wickremaratne to investigate four persons, including Sara Jesmin, the wife of Katuwapitiya bomber Hastun. And the others referred to in the final report of the PCoI namely Abu Hind, Lukman Thalib and Abu Abdullah Rimzan.

In spite of claims that Sara Jesmin managed to flee the country and perhaps now living in India, the government hadn’t been able to trace her whereabouts.

The AG had assured the Cardinal that he would do everything possible to bring the proceedings to a successful conclusion. However, the success of the investigation and the subsequent legal proceedings very much depended on his department receiving access to all documents, he stressed.

The AG, in respect of the writ application filed by the Cardinal, has directed the IGP to conduct a thorough investigation into the importation of swords, daggers and similar weapons into the country before and after the Easter Sunday attacks.

State Counsel Jayaratne said that the AG had briefed the Cardinal on the status of ongoing investigations.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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