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India’s NIA takes over probe into seizure of AK-47s, ammo from SL boat

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The NIA has  taken over the probe into the seizure of AK-47 rifles and ammunition along with Rs 3,000 crore worth of heroin from a Sri Lankan vessel on March 25.

The agency has registered an FIR against six Sri Lankan nationals. NIA sources said the  agency will be probing the recovery of rifles and ammunition while the  seizure of heroin will be probed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB. 

“After the seizure of 301kg of heroin from the boat, Ravihansi, NCB had started a probe. They later reported to the state police regarding the  recovery of five AK-47 rifles and 1,000 9mm bullets from the boat. Based on this, Kerala Police filed an FIR at Vizhinjam station on  April 5. As the case has international ramifications and is of serious  nature, NIA decided to take over the probe. An FIR has been submitted at the NIA court in Kochi,” a source said.

The accused persons in the case  are Sri Lankan nationals — L Y Nandana, 46, of Nakulugamuwa; H K G B  Janakadassppriya, 42, of Nakulugamuwa; A H S Mendis Gunasekara, 33, of  Dondanduwa; Thilanka Madushan Ransingha, 29, of Dondanduwa; and Dadallage  Nisanka, 40, of Ratgama.

The case has been registered under Section 7 of  the Arms Act for possession and acquisition of prohibited arms and  ammunition. NIA Inspector Ebinson Franco is probing the case. 

“The  seized AK-47 rifles and ammunition will be received from Kerala Police  soon. The boat is currently at Vizhinjam Coastal police station. We have  not yet produced the accused persons before the court. We have to take  them into custody for interrogation. Due to Covid-19, the initial  procedures are facing a delay. Once the NIA court opens after lockdown, we  will a file petition for the production of the accused persons and later  their custody will be sought,” an official said.

The boat was  intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard around 225 kilometres off  Vizhinjam coast. 

The heroin was found concealed inside the water tank of  the vessel in 301 packets bearing the image of a flying horse, a common  branding practice of drug trafficking syndicates. During interrogation,  the arrested persons revealed that an unknown vessel carried the consignment from  Chabahar Port in Iran, and handed over the same to Sri Lankan fishing boat Ravihansi in the high seas near Lakshadweep.

(The New Indian Express)



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Keheliya, seven others further remanded till 28th June

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The Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today [14] ordered that former Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella and seven others be further remanded until June 28 by over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin vials.

 

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President launches Public Learning and Education Platform for Sri Lankan Youth

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe officially launched www.publiclearn.lk a new education platform aimed at transforming Sri Lanka’s learning landscape at the Chamber Hall of the Presidential Secretariat, on Thursday [13]

Public Learn is a platform that guides users to free courses from the world’s top universities. .

Emphasizing the importance of adapting to a knowledge-intensive society, the President highlighted Sri Lanka’s strong educational results despite various systemic flaws. He noted that the new platform would enhance the education system’s effectiveness and stressed that Sri Lanka must swiftly advance in digitization to drive the new economic transformation.

President Wickremesinghe highlighted that the Public Learn platform serves as a crucial tool for enabling many Sri Lankans to advance personally and transform their nation. He reflected on Sri Lanka’s historical learning journey in three phases: first, during the era of Arahath Mahinda and the Pirivena system; second, with the introduction of the British public school system; and now, with the advent of digital education platforms like Public Learn, marking the third phase. He emphasized the importance of leveraging digital technology and knowledge to propel Sri Lanka forward in the digital economy, underscoring the need for continuous adaptation and innovation.

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Easter Sunday carnage: ‘Another probe nothing but an exercise in futility’

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Rev. Father Cyril Gamini

‘Implement PCoI recommendations at least now’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Catholic Church yesterday (14) reiterated its longstanding demand that the recommendations made by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) into 2019 Easter Sunday attacks be implemented.

Rev. Father Cyril Gamini Fernando said so when The Island sought the Catholic Church’s reaction to the appointment by President Ranil Wickremesinghe a new committee of inquiry to investigate the actions and responses of the country’s intelligence and security authorities following the intelligence warning received from India.

The committee is headed by retired Judge Ms. A. N. J. de Alwis. Rev. Fernando said that the government should implement the recommendations made by the PCoI headed by Supreme Court judge Janak de Silva. He said another inquiry would be nothing but an exercise in futility as the PCoI conducted an in-depth investigation into the Easter attacks, including the failure on the part of the intelligence apparatus to act on foreign intelligence as well neutralise the growing threat posed by extremist elements.

Rev. Fr. Fernando questioned the rationale behind re-examining the conduct of State Intelligence Service (SIS) and Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) as the Supreme Court in January last year ordered Senior DIG Nilantha Jayewardena and retired DIG Sisira Mendis, who headed the SIS and functioned as CNI, respectively, to pay compensation to the tune of Rs 75 mn and Rs 10 mn.

“What is there to investigate again?” Rev Fernando asked, urging the government to go through the PCoI recommendations in respect of politicians and security officials.

In addition to the PCoI report, the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee and a Special Investigation Committee of three members appointed by the then President Maithriapla Sirisena probed the Easter carnage, Rev Fernando said, adding that if those in parliament were still interested in justice and fair play should look into that matter.

Rev. Fernando urged the government to examine how successive leaders had responded to PCoI findings. When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a committee consisting of six MPs to look into the PCoI report and its findings soon after justice Janak de Silva handed over his report on Feb 1, 2021 it became clear that the powers that be would resort to old tactics. Nearly two years after President Rajapaksa’s ouster, the situation remained the same, Rev. Fernando said, adding that the Church wouldn’t give up its fight for justice.

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