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Ex-IGP: Easter carnage caused by system failure

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Everyone in power during the Easter Sunday attacks should take responsibility for failing  to prevent the incident as it was clearly a system failure, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara yesterday told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

Jayasundara said that the attacks could have been prevented if the Minister of Defence at that time, President Maithripala Sirisena, and the National Security Council (NSC), had acted appropriately on the information provided by the State Intelligence Service (SIS),warning of a possible terrorist attack. The SIS had received the information on 04 April 2019.

President’s Counsel Anil Silva appearing for former President Sirisena, Attorney- at-Law Upul Kumarapperuna appearing for former SDIG of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Ravi Seneviratne and former CID Director Shani Abeysekera, and Attorney- at- Law Madu Jayatilake appearing for former SIS Director SDIG Jayawardena crossexamined the witness.

Jayasundara said that when former SIS Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena sent him a report on 09 April 2019 warning of the attacks, he had contacted the relevant officials over the phone and informed them.  He added that he had forwarded the report to SDIG of Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG crimes and STF M.R. Latif, DIG special protection range Priyalal Dassanayake and Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division, Waruna Jayasundara and spoken to them over the phone. Jayasundara said that he had also phoned all SDIGs in charge of provinces.

“I gave all of them specific instructions on what to do. But when investigators checked my mobile records, the details of these records were gone. President Sirisena’s brother headed Mobitel at that time. What happened to these call logs must be investigated.”

The former IGP added that SIS had tapped his phone and had deployed officers opposite his house. “Intelligence agents were monitoring my movements. They were right outside my house. I was the IGP.”

The representative of the Attorney General’s Department who led evidence also said that there were no records of the calls which, Jayasundara said, he had made to senior police officers on April 9, 2019 after receiving foreign intelligence on a possible terror attack.



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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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