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Indian actress duped into investing in Colombo casino business



An Indian actress has lodged a complaint with Bengalaru Police that she had been duped into investing in a Colombo casino business by her best friend, the Indian Express reported last week.

The report filed from Bengalaru said: Kannada film actor Sanjjanaa Galrani, an accused in a 2020 Sandalwood drug case, has filed a complaint against her ‘best friend’ and a co-accused Rahul Tonse

and two others of cheating her of returns from her investments in his casino business in Colombo and Goa.

Sanjjanaa and Tonse were among those arrested by the city police in the drug case in September last year. She was later released on bail.

Now, Sanjjanaa has alleged in her complaint that Tonse had lured her into investing in his casino business, but had refused to pay her the returns. She has also accused Tonse — the prime accused — of

misusing the money invested by her for “illegal activities” to make profits, while spreading rumours to defame her.

A senior police officer said Sanjjanaa had approached the court after she was cheated by her friends. Based on the court’s directions, the Indiranagar police registered a case against Tonse, and the two others — Ramakrishna and Rajeshwari, charging them under IPC Sections pertaining to cheating and criminal intimidation.

Sanjjanaa has alleged that Tonse, in November 2018, had claimed to be the managing director of the group of casinos while trying to convince her to invest in the business and offered her big returns.

Sanjjanaa had invested in the business by transferring money to Tonse’s account and also into those of his friends. Later, the accused allegedly refused to share the returns despite her repeated requests. She said she trusted Tonse as a ‘brother’ and even transferred money into the account of Tonse’s parents, who too allegedly convinced her to invest in the business.

“It was my hard-earned money. That’s why I demand legal action against them,” she reportedly told the court.

The police officer said they have sought phone records and bank account details of the transactions as part of the investigation, before taking any action against the accused.

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GL: Suspension of IMF bailout highlights failure to meet anticipated revenue targets



Prof. G.L

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Top Opposition spokesperson Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (02) said that the government should take full responsibility for the suspension of USD 2.9 bn IMF bailout over Sri Lanka’s failure to achieve the anticipated revenue mobilisation.

The former External Affairs Minister found fault with the government for tax concessions granted to investors and the failure on its part to collect taxes, in spite of reaching an agreement with the IMF in that regard.

Referring to the declaration made by IMF delegation head Peter Breuer that the second tranche of about $330m would be delayed pending Staff-Level Agreement, Prof. Peiris pointed out that Sri Lanka and the lending agency had reached a staff-level agreement in early September last year.

Sri Lanka received the first tranche of USD 330 mn in the third week of March this year in terms of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), spread over a period of four years.

While pointing out that revenue mobilisation had improved, the IMF said revenue was expected to fall short of initial projections by nearly 15 percent by the end of this year.

Addressing the media at the Nawala Office of Nidahasa Jathika Sabhawa, Prof. Peiris said that though the government tried to put on a brave face, the consequences of the indefinite delay could be quite catastrophic. He said the suspension of the programme could undermine debt restructuring talks with external creditors, governments, lending agencies and the commercial market.

Prof. Peiris said that the suspension of the programme, just after the release of the first tranche, was a matter for serious concern as the unexpected development could cause further erosion of investors’ confidence in the Sri Lankan economy.

Sri Lanka has obtained IMF assistance on 16 occasions.

Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Economic and Physical Plans Mahindananda Aluthgamage on Sunday told The Island the country was paying a very heavy price for the failure on the part of the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise Department to collect the due taxes. Alleging that unpaid income taxes alone, over the past 15 years, amounted to a staggering Rs 904 bn, whereas revenue collecting authorities so far managed to collect Rs 1,643 bn though they were given a target of Rs. 3,101 bn for this year.

Prof. Peiris said that corruption in the public sector procurement process undermined the economic recovery process. The government defeated the Opposition moved no-confidence motion against Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella over corruption in the public health sector, Prof. Peiris said, asserting that the IMF must be aware of how the government encouraged waste, corruption, irregularities and mismanagement.

Prof. Peiris urged the government to take tangible measures to address the concerns of the IMF. Unfortunately, the government sought to deceive the public by claiming that the process was on track and would proceed following staff-level agreement, he said. He asked whether the government wanted the people to believe there would be staff-level agreements before the release of each tranche.

Prof. Peiris said that the government should correctly identify the warning issued by the IMF. It would be the responsibility of the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government to take remedial measures without further delay.

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LPBOA demands bus fare hike



By Rathindra Kuruwita  

Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) head, Gemunu Wijeratna on Monday (02) said they needed a five percent increase in bus fares following Sunday’s diesel price hike.

On Sunday, CPC, LIOC and Sinopec increased diesel prices by 10 rupees per litre.

Wijeratna said that the private bus owners had not increased bus fares when diesel prices were increased by 35 rupees per litre recently.

“With the latest price increase, short distance buses will lose Rs 1,000 a day. Long distance buses will lose Rs 2,500 a day. We can’t lose money like this. We want at least a five percent bus fare hike,” he said.

School transport providers have decided not to increase their charges.

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Discourse on crisis in Lankan health sector at CSR



A discourse on the crisis in Sri Lankan health sector, under the theme ‘What ails the health sector? What solutions?’ is scheduled to be held at 4.00 p.m. on Thursday, 05 October 2023, at the Centre for Society & Religion (CSR) Auditorium, 281, Deans Road, Colombo 10, under the auspices of the Socialist Study Circle. The speakers will be Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, Consultant Community Physician, President, Sri Lanka Medical Association, Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, Consultant Physician, National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Ravi Kumudesh President, Academy of Health Professionals. The discourse is open to the public.

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