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Ex-soldier who obtained passport under different name arrested on return from Dubai

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Suspect a member of Harak Kata’s gang’ – police

By Shamindra Ferdinando

A 31-year-old person recently arrested with 06 g and 400 mg of heroin has admitted that he joined an underworld organisation after leaving the army/The leader of this group is believed to be Dubai-based criminal, Wickremaratne Nadun Chinthaka alias Herath Dissanayakage Roshan Issanka better known as Harak Kata.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) arrested the resident of Sedawatta, Wellampitiya on 21 Oct. and obtained permission from a Magistrate to detain him till 28 Oct., pending further investigations.Investigations have revealed that the suspect had used a passport obtained under a different name to visit Dubai in March this year, a senior police headquarters official said. The official said that there was no doubt the ex-soldier visited Dubai with the knowledge of his leader. The ex-soldier has returned on Oct 11.

According to information elicited from the suspect, he had been tasked to collect money from those who owed the organisation and was widely believed to be one of its trusted men. Following his arrest investigators on Oct 26 recovered a hand grenade and a locally made pistol hidden near new Kelani Bridge in the Sedawatta area and the recovered weapons were to be produced before the Maligakanda Magistrate court yesterday.

Sources said that the government hadn’t been so far successful in convincing Dubai administration to hand over Wickremaratne Nadun Chinthaka wanted here in connection with ongoing investigations into narcotics trade and a spate of killings.Authorities here are perturbed as to how so many of our desperados have found refuge in Dubai unless there is some patronage there for those in the drug trade. Some of those who have found ready refuge there are said to be so illiterate that it is a wonder how they could even fill out a visa application form in English.

Recent criticism regarding the poor handling of the case and a botched bid to have the suspect extradited prompted the Defence Ministry to categorically deny the serious accusations.Colonel Nalin Herath said that Sri Lanka Interpol established under the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was told by the United Arab Emirates of the arrest of the suspect on Aug 19 this year. According to the military official who addressed the media on behalf of the Defence Ministry, the UAE arrested the suspect consequent to a red notice issued by Sri Lanka Interpol.

Colonel Herath said that the CID in a letter dated Sept 12 requested the Defence Ministry to facilitate the extradition of the suspect. Having consulted Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne, the Defence Ministry on the following day submitted the relevant documents to the Foreign Ministry for further action, the official said.

The Foreign Ministry has sought the Attorney General’s advice in this regard on Sept. 14. Having received the Attorney General’s advice on Sept 26, the Foreign Ministry instructed the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission in UAE on Sept 03 to make representations to relevant authorities not to release the suspect, Colonel Herath said.

The official emphasised that as the Defence Ministry responded to the request made by the CID within 24 hours there couldn’t be any lapses on its part.The Defence Ministry issued the statement on Oct 07, four days after Dubai authorities released the suspect.Authoritative sources yesterday (27) said that the suspect though being ‘released’ was in Dubai. “We believe he is under surveillance and likely to remain there,” the official said.



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Parliament prorogued

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by Saman Indrajith

Parliament has been prorogued with effect from midnight yesterday (27) by President Ranil Wickremeisnghe under Article 70 of the Constitution. The Department of Government Printing issued the Gazette notification annoucing the presidential order yesterday evening.The new Parliament session is scheduled to commence on Feb. 08.

A prorogation, which is a temporary recess of Parliament, should not extend to a period of more than two months, However, such date for summoning Parliament may be advanced by another Presidential Proclamation, provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation.

When Parliament is prorogued, the Proclamation should notify the date for the commencement of the new Session of Parliament, under Paragraph (3) of Article 70 of the Constitution.

During the prorogation the Speaker continues to function and the Members retain their membership, even though they do not attend meetings of Parliament.The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current Business before the House, and all proceedings, pending at the time, are quashed, except impeachments.

A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same Session. However, it could be carried forward at a subsequent Session, after a prorogation.

“All matters which having been duly brought before Parliament, and have not been disposed of at the time of the prorogation of Parliament, may be proceeded with during the next Session,” states the Paragraph (4) of Article 70 of the Constitution.

In the light of this constitutional provision, a prorogation does not put an end to pending Business. Thus, a pending matter may be proceeded with from that stage onwards after the commencement of the new Session. At the beginning of a new Session, all items of Business which were in the Order Paper of Parliament, need to be re-listed, if it is desired to continue with them.

At the end of a prorogation, a new Session begins and is ceremonially declared open by the President. He is empowered, under the Constitution, to make a Statement of Government Policy in Parliament, at the commencement of each Session of Parliament, and to preside at ceremonial sittings of Parliament, in terms of the provisions stipulated in Paragraph (2) of Article 33 of the Constitution.

The President is empowered to make a statement of Government Policy at the commencement of each new Session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech which was delivered by the Governor-General.

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LG elections may turn violent – CPA

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By PRIYAN DE SILVA

Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and co-convener of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu has warned that the March 9 LG polls (if held) may turn violent as political parties are fighting for their survival as the results of the election may be considered as a referendum. He said it was doubtful whether the election would be held.

Dr. Saravanamuttu sounded this warning at the conference on Campaign Finance Regulations, convened by the CMEV, and Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), which was held last Thursday (26). He recalled that once when he asked former President Mahinda Rajapaksa about campaign and party finances, the latter’s reply had been as follows: “I am not going to tell you the whole story, I cannot tell you the whole story and I will not tell you the whole story”

The Campaign Finance Regulation Act became law last Tuesday (24) and Dr. Saravanamuttu pointed out that the former President’s quip highlighted the challenges of collecting information on exactly how much is actually being used. “It is important that the public should know, whether it be cash or kind, from where the money comes from. And the information be made available to the public.”

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President: Cabinet has agreed to implement 13A fully

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Thursday, informed the All Party Leaders Conference on Reconciliation that the Cabinet was agreeable to fully implementing the 13th Amendment.Issuing a statement on Friday, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said the President is bound to implement the laws of the land and the 13th Amendment is a part of the Constitution.

“The 13th Amendment has been in existence for over 30 years. I must implement it. If anyone is opposed, they can bring in a constitutional amendment to change it, or abolish it,” he said.

The President said that the country has to decide whether to fully implement the 13th Amendment or abolish it. “We can’t decide to do neither. Any MP can bring a private members motion to abolish the 13A. What happens when most people don’t support the motion? We will have to fully implement it,” he said.

The President said that he is working, according to a Supreme Court decision, on 13A. “We have to look, especially at the decision given by Chief Justice Palinda Ranasinghe. We are still in the bounds of a unitary state. I am against a Federal state but I support the devolution of power to provinces. The provincial councils don’t even have the powers enjoyed by the City of London. So we can’t call this a federal state,” he said.

Wickremesinghe added that former President J.R. Jayawardane and his lawyers took great pains to prevent the 13A from leading to a federal state. He added that at the end of the war, against the LTTE, a large number of lands in the North and the East, that belonged to private owners, were under the control of the Army. However, most of it had been returned to the people, under presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena.

“Only about 3000 acres are under the security forces. The forces must be given the opportunity to release these lands, without hindering national security. The Land Commission, too, must be immediately established. The draft on that can be presented by March. The Commission will have nine members, from each province ,and 12 will be appointed by the President. The we can come up with a national land policy and the Commission can implement the land policy,” he said.

The President said that 30 percent of the land will be allocated for forests. Large swaths of forests, in the upcountry, and in the catchment areas, for rivers, have been destroyed.

“We must increase the forest cover and the Land Commission must be entrusted with this,” he said.

The President added that he will provide further information, on February 08, on how the amendment will be implemented. He urged political parties to submit their proposals by February 04, the Independence Day of the country.

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