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Kiriella: Vital evidence withheld from PCoI that probed Easter carnage

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By Saman Indrajith

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry on the Easter Sunday carnage had not been able to make satisfactory conclusions as intelligence agencies, the CID, etc., concealed evidence, Chief Opposition Whip, Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella said yesterday.

Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Kiriella said that vital evidence had been withheld from the PCoI to prevent it from unearthing the network of terror responsible for the Easter Sunday bombings.

“First, it is public knowledge that Zahran Hashim and some of his colleagues had been paid salaries before 2015 by intelligence agencies. Secondly, everybody knows that Pulastini Mahendran alias Sarah Jasmine, who was the wife of Atchchi Muhammadu Muhammadu Hastun, who carried out the suicide bombing at the St. Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya, was taken to India. There was a network that facilitated her escape.”

Kiriella said that Pulastini was privy to vital information and that former Terrorist Investigation Division head DIG Nalaka Silva, was taking steps to arrest Zahran, but Silva was arrested following a complaint by Namal Kumara, who stated that Silva was conspiring to assassinate the then President Mathripala Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“Evidence on these three issues, i.e. payment of salaries to terrorists, escape of Sarah to India and not asking for her extradition and suspension of TID’s investigations into Zahran’s group were not furnished to the CoI, which could not conduct a complete inquiry as a result.”

“We think that some information was suppressed as it would have implicated some top people of this government in the terror attacks on Easter Sunday,” MP Kiriella said.

He said that the commissioners had no mandate to go beyond the evidence given before them.

“The Commissioners have done their job with available evidence” MP Kiriella said.

SJB Colombo District MP Dr Harsha de Silva also addressed the press.



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Avishka and Sadeera power Jaffna Kings to nine wicket win

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Half tons by Avishka Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrema powered Jaffna Kings to a nine wicket win over Dambulla Aura in the 3rd match of the LPL2022  at MRICS Hambanthota on Wednesday (07)

Dambulla Aura 121/9 in 20 overs (Jordan Cox 43; Maheesh Theekshana 3/20, Vijayakanth Vijaskanth 3/24, James Fuller 2/16, Zaman Khan 1/28)

Jaffna Kings 122/1 in 15.4 overs (Avishka Fernando 51 , Sadeera Samarawickrema 62 not out; Noor Ahamed 1/28)

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Govt. says selling state assets only way to build reserves and prevent crippling shortages

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday (06) said Sri Lanka wouldn’t be in a position to be part of the international trading system unless it boosted its foreign reserves by selling some of its assets. Gunawardena, who also holds media and transport portfolios said so at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

Responding to a query about the government’s decision to divest vital national assets, the Minister said that if Sri Lanka did not shore up its reserves to the tune of over three billion dollars, international companies would not accept the letters of credit given by Sri Lankan banks.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Finance Minister, has proposed privatising of several state enterprises including Sri Lanka Insurance and Sri Lanka Telecom.

“Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga sold a number of state owned enterprises. If we don’t increase our reserves, to over three billion USD soon, we will have problems importing fuel, and other essential items. Last week, Fitch again reduced our rating. No matter who governs Sri Lanka, they will all face the same problem. We need to build our reserves,” the Minister said.

Minister Gunawardane said that the need of the hour was to sell some assets and boost Sri Lanka’s reserves.

“China, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia are attracting a lot of investors. Only we have failed to do so, and we need to think why this is. Even our entrepreneurs are leaving for other countries. We need to change the way we think, if we want to attract investors to Sri Lanka,” he said.

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Ven Siridhamma, Mudalige granted bail; latter re-arrested

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Convenor of Bhikku Balamandalaya affiliated Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thera leaving Court yesterday (06) after Kaduwela Magistrate Chanima Wijebandara granted him bail. The Thera was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for causing damages to public property during a protest opposite the Education Ministry, over three months back. The Magistrate ordered the Thera released after the police failed to identify the monk at an identification parade. However, IUSF Convenor Wasanatha Mudalige, who was also released by the Magistrate, after the police couldn’t identify him, was taken into custody in connection with some other case.

Pics by Kamal Bogoda

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