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Army personnel held in weapons transportation probe



AG orders probe on Police Spokesman

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The police have taken two army personnel into custody in connection with the ongoing investigation into the alleged transportation of a stock of weapons to Pitipana, Homagama during the height of the covid-19 epidemic.

Police spokesman and attorney-at-law SSP Jaliya Senaratne said so in response to a query raised during hastily arranged media conference at the police headquarters yesterday.

SSP Senaratne said that the CID had detained two army personnel and more arrests were likely depending on the investigation.

Asked whether the weapons belonged to the LTTE and the number of weapons, SSP Senaratne said that they were inquiring into the origin of the weapons and why they were moved to Colombo. Out of the smuggled lethal haul 13 T 56 assault rifles and one T 81 weapon had been recovered so far, the police official said, explaining the progress made by investigators.

Among those who had been so far arrested in connection with the high profile investigation included Sub Inspector of Police attached to the Special Task Force (STF) and print media journalist Prasad Abeywickrema. SSP Senaratne alleged that the journalist had abused his media accreditation to facilitate the transportation of weapons to Colombo.

The police spokesman said that the ongoing investigation hadn’t revealed the involvement of any other journalist in the alleged transportation of weapons.

SSP Senaratne said that the police commando had been arrested on a charge of aiding and abetting drug dealers. According to him, the Officer-in-Charge of Intelligence and Special Operations of the STF detachment in Mannar had been arrested on Tuesday night (18).

The police spokesman explained that investigations-the transportation of weapons to Colombo and the arrest of police commando were separate cases though being carried out as part of the overall crackdown on the underworld.

The police spokesman released a long list of recoveries and detections made in the recent past.

The Island sought the police spokesman’s views on Justice Minister Ali Sabry PC’s accusation pertaining to direct nexus between the lawbreakers and four state institutions-the police, the prisons, the Government Analyst’s Department and the Registrars of courts. Asked whether the police could explain law enforcement and other government personnel dealing in heroin, SSP Senaratne claimed that the case involving PNB personnel as well as the arrest of Government Analyst’s Department personnel were isolated cases.

Senaratne said that it wouldn’t be fair to target entire institutions over isolated cases.

The media raised the Attorney General Dappula de Livera raising the conduct of the OIC, Negombo and the Police Spokesman in respect of statements/claims regarding the arrest of Superintendent of Negombo Police Anuruddha Sampayo on July 2 in Kurunegala.

SSP Senaratne said that the AG had instructed Acting IGP C.D. Wickramaratne to inquire into his conduct as well as that of the Negombo OIC. The AG had disputed the Negombo OIC’s version of Sampayo’s arrest. SSP Senaratne said that he couldn’t discuss the matter as an investigation was underway. The police spokesman said that he addressed the media on the basis of information provided to him.

Coordinator to the AG, State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne told The Island that instructions were issued yesterday.



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Udaya questions why CPC prevented from entering LPG market



Minister Gammanpila at the abandoned Sapugaskanda facility

…reveals Rs 37 mn loss suffered during Asantha’s tenure as Chairman

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila recently alleged that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had suffered Rs 37 mn loss due to an abortive bid made by the state enterprise to enter the LPG (liquid petroleum gas) in 2008.

Lawmaker Gammanpila, who is also the leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, said that the CPC had made the attempt in violation of an agreement with Shell and Laugfs Gas to supply its entire output of LPG from the Sapugaskanda refinery to the above mentioned companies.

The Minister said so after inspecting an abandoned gas filling facility at the CPC facility at Sapugaskanda. The visit took place, on Thursday (24), after a three-member committee headed by the Energy Ministry’s head of Internal Audit D. P. S. J. Kumara inquired into the failed operation.

The CPC undertook the project during former national cricketer Ashantha de Mel’s tenure as the CPC Chairman. A. H. M. Fowzie had been the minister in charge of the subject.

The Minister called for a report when the media revealed that the facility had been abandoned a decade back.

Gammanpila vowed to reveal the person who had caused losses to the CPC, having misled its Board of Directors as regards the viability of the project.

The PHU leader requested state enterprise Litro Gas to explore the possibility of accommodating the facility in its current production setup. The minister described the facility installed at Sapugaskanda as technologically outdated even at the time 2008 administration acquired it.

When the CPC made an attempt to enter the LPG market, Laugfs successfully moved the Supreme Court against it. The CPC abandoned the facility following the Supreme Court directive.

The Energy Minister questioned how the CPC had been prevented from entering the gas market. Underscoring the importance of market competition, the lawmaker said that the Energy Ministry intended to inquire into how the CPC reached an understanding with competitors that prevented the state enterprise from entering the LPG market. The minister said that he would examine the obstacles placed before the CPC in entering the market without undermining Litro.

Declaring that Sri Lanka had substantial natural gas deposits in the Mannar basin, the Energy Minister said that the government intended to enter the gas market. Attorney-at-law Gammanpila said that a new enterprise would be established under the CPC to provide healthy competition.

Addressing the post-Cabinet media briefing on Sept. 10, co-Cabinet spokesperson Gammanpila said that Surath Ovitigama had been named the Director-General of the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat and Saliya Wickramasuriya had been appointed advisor.

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Saumya Liyanage removed from posts of Dean and Professor 



From M.A. Kaleel, Kalmunai Corr. 

Professor Saumya Liyanage of the University of Visual and Performing Arts has been summarily removed from the posts of Professor and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies he was holding at the university. 

 The decision was taken by the University Council chaired by the Competent Authority of the University Professor Abayaratne Bandara. 

 According to the Council, the decision for his removal is that he had not obtained a postgraduate degree by research (Master or PhD) within the probationary period of eight years. When a lecturer is appointed on probationary basis, he is given eight years to complete postgraduate degree––a master’s or a PhD.  

Liyanage holds a PhD from La Trobe University, Australia and he claims he submitted his PhD thesis within the stipulated period of 8 years, and the university has recommended him for the award of PhD with minor corrections. The effective date of PhD could be the date of submission of corrected thesis or the date of annual convocation. It differs from university to university. 

Liyanage, who joined the university in 2007, was supposed to obtain his PhD before 2015, but the university has taken 5 years to detect that he has not completed his PhD within the probationary period. He was promoted as a Professor and the Dean of Graduate Studies.  

 Professor Abayaratne Bandara also served as the Director General of National Institute of Education.  When Bandula Gunawardena became the Education Minister, he removed Dr. Upali S. Sedera from the post of DG only a few months after his appointment and appointed Professor Abayaratne Bandara to the post.

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SF under delusion that he is still Army Chief – SLPP MP



‘Even Vasu is capable of flooring him’

By Saman Indrajith

Badulla District SLPP MP Chamara Sampath Dassanayake told Parliament, yesterday, that the SJB Gampaha District MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was under the delusion that he was still commanding the army.

“He should realise that he is in Parliament. Yesterday, he threatened to take on the entire front row of government ranks single-handedly. We do not need an entire row of members to match him. We could send a single person that is our minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

MP Fonseka thinks all those here have passed only Grade Eight. What is wrong with a person with that kind of educational qualification becoming an MP? What about the late Mr. D. S. Senanayake? He was the first prime minister of the country.  He had passed only the fifth standard. We have had leaders who had not studied beyond Grade Eight. Didn’t they govern this country well? On the contrary, where is UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was considered educated and intelligent? What has he done? He is not even in this Parliament today. Was he able to govern this country successfully?”

“We know a lot about him and his ways of conduct. When he was the commander of the Army he sent a helicopter to Colombo to fetch two loaves of bread, while denying so many wounded soldiers the chance to be flown to Colombo. He also brought water from the Iyakkachi well in Vettailaikerni to Colombo because that was his favourite drinking water. We know all this”.

MP Dassanayake said that they had come to Parliament with great trust in it. Yet, he said that there were no thugs in the parliament and no room would be spared to turn the Ninth parliament into the same situation as the Eighth parliament.

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