On two aspects examined so far
Toxicology report still being finalized
by Suresh Perera
Investigations conducted so far by the Government Analyst’s Department into two key aspects surrounding the mysterious death of Ven. Olande Jinarathana have ruled out the possibility of the Dutch monk being killed, a senior official said.
However, on the toxicology front, the bhikku’s body parts are still being examined to determine whether any poisonous substance in his blood had led to his death, he noted.
Apart from the toxicology report, which is still being finalized, an analysis of the piece of rope and the stone found tied to one of the monk’s legs plus an examination of the island hermitage and the scene where his body was fished out of the Polduwa lagoon have ruled out the possibility that he was killed, the official said.
The piece of rope was examined in detail by officers of the Government Analyst’s Department to ascertain whether the knot to hold the stone in place on one of the legs of the bhikku could have been tied by somebody else, he explained.
“On these two aspects, there was no credible evidence to suggest that the monk had been killed and his body dumped in the lagoon, he further said.
“After the toxicology aspect is finalized, we will be able to release the report”, he said.
Police investigators earlier said that the prelate may have committed suicide as the postmortem examination revealed that he had been alive at the time he was in the water (of the lagoon) as there was no sand found in his lungs.
Police investigations into the monk’s death were handled by special teams detailed by senior DIG Rohan Silva in charge of the Southern province.
“We probed all aspects of the bhikku’s death and there were no indications that he may have been killed”, the senior police official said.
Asked about the delay on the part of the Government Analyst’s Department in finalizing the report as the bhikku’s body was found on December 8, 2020, the official said that every possible detail has to be gone into, examined and analyzed as it has to be a 100% thorough and foolproof document.
He said that the department works until late evening even on Saturdays to clear the backlog of cases. There existed 27 vacancies which were filled only in September 2020 despite repeated attempts since 2017-18 to recruit the required cadre.
There is a backlog of 8,000 narcotics related cases, which are now being cleared, he said, while expressing optimism of overcoming the challenge by April this year.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
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.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
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.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
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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