…asks for an end to taking suspects out without court approval
By Shamindra Ferdinando
It is being asked in legal circles whether there have been lapses on the part of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), conducting investigations, as regards the criminal gang led by Samarasinghe Arachchige Madush Lakshitha aka Makandure Madush, who had been in the custody of the CID since May 5, 2019.
The CID handed over Madush to the CCD on Oct 16 on a directive given by Acting IGP C.D. Wickramaratne.
The CID is also embroiled in controversy over the controversial release of Easter Sunday suspect Riyaj Bathiudeen. Its former bosses are subjected to an internal inquiry.
Authoritative police sources acknowledged that the CID hadn’t made significant recoveries during the period (May 5, 2019-Oct 16, 2020) Madush was in its custody in terms of Detention Orders.
Within 36 hours after the CCD took over the investigation, interrogation of Madush and another notorious gangster Shabdeen Mohamed Zubair led to the recovery of 10 kilos of heroin stashed in a garage in Kotikawatte.
Police spokesman attorney-at-law Ajith Rohana yesterday (23) said that simultaneous questioning of the suspects facilitated the latest recovery. DIG Rohana said that Zubair had been among four persons taken into custody at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on Aug 23, 2020 when they were about to leave the country.
Zubair had been previously described as a close associate of late Angoda Lokka who died in India under mysterious circumstances recently.
DIG Rohana said that the CCD made a major breakthrough when Zubair and Makandure Madush were questioned together.
In two audio clips released to the media on Oct 17 and 20, DIG Rohana explained how Madush had been caught up in a firefight between policemen accompanying Madush to an apartment in the Maligawatte police area in the early hours of 20th. Reference was made to interrogation of Zubair and Madush leading to the recovery of 10 kg of heroin stashed in a garage at Kotikawatte. During the raid on the apartment, the CCD recovered 22 kg of heroin, according to the police spokesman.
Arrested in Dubai on Feb 5, 2019, Madush was handed over to Sri Lanka on May 5, 2019. Among those who had been arrested along with Makandure Madush in Dubai were notorious gangster Mohamed Najeem Imran alias ‘Kanjipani Imran’, a 52-year-old Prisons Department officer, singer Amal Perera and his son, Nadeemal, also upcoming member of the music industry.
DIG Rohana, in his first comments in the wake of Maligawatte shooting alleged that Makandure Madush had been involved in a spate of killings, including 2006 hit on Chairman of Southern Development Authority Danny Hittatiya. He was killed on July 11, 2006 near his residence at Makandure, Matara. In May last year, the police arrested Sunil Premaratne alias ‘Eta Indika’ widely described as a close associate of Makandure Madush in connection with Danny Hittatiya’s killing.
The police claimed that Harsha C. Yasashri, who had been involved in the Hittatiya killing was gunned down at Obeysekerapura, Rajagiriya on March 7, 2016. ‘Eta Indika’ and Yasashri are widely believed to be the hitmen responsible for Matara assassination ordered by Makandure Madush.
Meanwhile, the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners yesterday (23) requested immediate intervention of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) to conduct a transparent inquiry into the Makandure Madush killing. Secretary of the rights group Sudesh Nandimal Silva told The Island that they handed over the complaint, in addition to it being emailed. Nandimal alleged law enforcement authorities were making an attempt to suppress the truth.
Attorney-at-law Senaka Perera, who is the President of the Committee, and its Secretary Nandimal Silva, in a joint letter addressed to HRCSL Chairman alleged that law enforcement authorities killed and subjected those in their custody to torture in violation of 13(4) of the country’s Constitution. Pointing out that there had been spate of extra-judicial killings during 2010-2015 period, they alleged that the recent killing of Makandure Madush was an extension of the previous government policy. They emphasised that killings in police custody couldn’t be justified under any circumstances.
The Committee reminded the HRCSL of its responsibility to ensure the protection of those in government custody.
Having explained how the country violated both local and international laws as regards those in government custody, the committee requested the HRCSL to recommend the contentious practice of taking suspects on missions to recover weapons or other items without having prior approval of the judiciary.
The committee warned that the failure on the part of the government to ensure the protection of those in its custody would cause deterioration of public confidence in the legal system.
Dhammika asks Ranil to resign as FM
By Rathindra Kuruwita
Minister of Investment Promotion, Dhammika Perera, yesterday told the media, in Colombo, that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had to resign from his post as Finance Minister.
Minister Perera said that the Prime Minister was blocking all dollar earnings, borrowings, bridging finance, available essential food credit lines and other credit lines.
“I am joining the Aragalaya from today. I have been in the government for seven days. I have seen what happens. The Prime Minister must stop his political game as the Minister of Finance,” he said.
Perera added that Wickremesinghe had no plan to boost the cash flow, about feeding people, or bringing in dollars.
The Minister of Investment Promotion said that instead of describing the people’s economic woes, the Finance Ministry had to find solutions.
“For example, the proposal to give investors 10-year multiple visas was finalised some time ago. One month has since elapsed, but the Treasury is sitting on it. This is because Ranil is in the habit of stopping projects if they bring in dollars. More than 50 people have come to get the visa by paying 100,000 USD.
About 300 more are on the list. We can bring in 30 million dollars to Sri Lanka, this month, with the help of this visa scheme. Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister is inviting disaster,” Minister Perera said.
Perera added that while Wickremesinghe could continue as the Prime Minister, but as the Finance Minister, the latter had no desire to resolve the foreign currency crisis. All of Sri Lanka’s economic woes are linked to the dollar shortage, he said.
“I challenge Ranil and his economic experts to an open media debate. Maybe he can answer my questions. I challenged him to a debate in 2019, and he ran away. I am challenging him again,” Minister Perera said.
JVP Leader accuses govt. of hatching plot against his party
By Saman Indrajith
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday said that the government was planning to suppress his party by levelling false allegations against the latter.
Addressing the media at the party headquarters, Pelawatte, Dissanayake said that the plot hatched by the government could lead to bloodshed.
“A video has been released, on social media, instructing how to make Molotov Cocktails. The voice, in the footage, instructs the viewer to make bombs in a similar manner, and tie them to their bodies and explode themselves at the President’s House. The video says that after the explosion I would be appointed the President. Anyone would know that the JVP would not do anything stupid like that. This video is another attempt by the government to justify the use of violence against its critics. There have been similar instances in the past and this country has suffered heavily as a result,” Dissanayake said.
He said that his party lawyers would submit the video to the CID and demand an investigation from the police on who had created and uploaded it to social media. “There is a massive protest to be held in Colombo centering the Galle Face Aragalaya.
“We, too, will participate in it. The government’s response to the protests is to use the police and the army. In addition there are several other developments, including the creation of a para-military force against us. Each SLPP MP is given a chance to recruit five persons, loyal to him or her, as home guards to provide security to the MP. There was a letter from the IGP to Defence Secretary warning of possible bomb attacks. Our party’s name is there in that warning. I have queried this letter in Parliament, too, yet there is no explanation yet. It is in the same context some MPs have requested for personal firearms from the Defence Ministry. Taken together, these developments could indicate the plans of government suppression and what is there in store for us. We do not think that they could fool the people with these tricks. The CID is capable of investigating and finding the sources of any video against the President, in social media, within 24 hours. So we expect the same expedient action would be taken with regard to our complaint, too,” Dissanayake said.
He said that the JVP was prepared to stabilize the country and help bring it out of the current crisis in a short period of time.
Dissanayake said the JVP does not intend to do it alone and was confident that the citizens of the country, and Lankans overseas, would extend their support to the party for this purpose.
“This crisis cannot be resolved by changing posts or individuals, and especially not through a government that has lost the trust of the people,” he added.
When inquired about Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s statement in Parliament on his willingness to step down to allow Dissanayake to implement his economic plans, the MP said he was prepared to take up the task.
He said, however, that the President and Prime Minister must resign if he were to take up the challenge and implement JVP’s programme to save the country from the crisis.
Move to set-up smoke-free zones: PHI union says member engaged in project harassed; Ministry says action in line with establishment code
by Ifham Nizam
Public Health Inspectors’ Union has accused a section of the Health Ministry officials of working against a project to establish smoke-free zones in Sri Lanka.
The union alleged that a PHI who served the anti-tobacco campaign and went to the extent of sacrificing his personal leave for the same had been denied annual increments.
It said that the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) organised a project, under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), to set up at least one smoke-free zone in each Medical Officer of Health Division countrywide. The union said that it played a significant role in the project.
The union alleged that PHI T. G. S. L. Prakash, of the Principal Public Health Inspectors’ Unit of the Ministry of Health, had been invited as a resource person as he innovated a 10-step process for establishing smoke-free zones for combatting second hand smoke.
However, the Deputy Director General (Public Health Services) of the Ministry of Health Dr. S. M. Arnold had obstructed the project by blocking Prakash’s participation, the union alleged.
Responding to The Island queries, Dr. S. M. Arnold said that he acted in terms of the Establishment Code and recommendations made by the relevant committee. Dr. Arnold said that the PHI concerned applied for leave for his PhD on Elephant Ecology study overseas, and work-related to NATA did not come under their purview. Dr. Arnold pointed out that the PHI Union President was also working for NATA.
Public Health Inspectors’ Union, President. Upul Rohana has previously asked the Health Secretary to conduct an investigation into the conduct of Dr. S. M. Arnold. According to the union for more than five years, PHI Prakash has conducted various research on the establishment of smoke-free zones in collaboration with NATA and the WHO and published and presented the research results at local and international fora.
The union said that the Chairman of NATA had requested that PHI Prakash to participate in the project as the outfit could benefit from his experience and expertise he had gained overseas in tobacco prevention.
The union claimed that the PHI concerned had participated in the project utilising his personal leave. The union alleged that Dr. Arnold had said that he wouldn’t recommend the annual salary increment for the particular PHI Prakash as his attendance was unsatisfactory.
PHI Chief Rohana emphasised that the concerned Deputy Director General continued to harass the officers who volunteered for their duties, abusing the power of his positio. He said although the union had complained to the health authorities, no action has been taken in that regard so far and their union would not hesitate to resort to trade union action seeking justice.
Dhammika asks Ranil to resign as FM
JVP Leader accuses govt. of hatching plot against his party
BRICS emerging as strong rival to G7
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