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‘Kith and kin of Easter Sunday bombers were to carry out second wave of attacks’

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by Rathindra Kuruwita

State Intelligence Service (SIS) had warned the the IGP, on April 25, that family members and close relations of those who had carried out the Easter Sunday attacks would launch a second wave of attacks targeting hospitals, shopping malls, supermarkets, police stations and the Indian High Commission, former SIS Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena yesterday informed the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

Jayawardene added that those killed during the Saindamarudu safe house explosion on April 26, 2019 were some of the terrorists tasked with carrying out the second wave of terror. Earlier it was revealed before the commission that 12 National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) members had remained in the East mount attacks in August 2019 and that they had been killed at the Saindamarudu safe house.

Jayawardena said that he had also submitted a report containing the names the remaining close associates of NTJ leader Zaharan Hashim on 24 April, 2019 to the SDIG of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). He told the PCoI that they wanted to dismantle Zaharan’s network.

“There was no going back for those in the close circle. They would carry out a second wave of attacks. And I also sent a team of SIS officers from Colombo to the East to assist our designated officer there,” he said.

Among the group of remaining associates was Mohamed Zaharan Fazlur Rahman, who lived in Matale. Jayawardena said Rahman had sent the ISIS evidence to show that Zahran and others were adherents of ISIS.

it was only after receiving this that ISIS had claimed the responsibility for attacks, Jayawardena said.

Jayawardena also said that by April 24 they had identified 11 men and 6 women capable of launching a series of suicide attacks.

Jayawardena said that they had received information warning that militants dressed in army uniform were planning to launch the attack using vans. There were reports of possible attacks targeting five locations, including Batticaloa, and that another attack could be carried out targeting people arriving to see the devastation after the initial attacks.”

SIS had sent information to the relevant officials including the secretary to the Ministry of Defence, the Chief of National Intelligence, the IGP, as well as the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS).

Asked by members of the PCoI why the letter had been forwarded to the CDS, Jayawardene said that he had been instructed to forward the reports prepared by the SIS to the CDS at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting on 22 April, 2019.

Asked by the Additional Solicitor General, who led the evidence who had attended the NSC meeting on 22 April, 2019, Jayawardene said former President Maithripala Sirisena, Defence Secretary and Secretary to the President had been present. The witness said that he did not remember whether former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe or State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene had been present at the meeting. He further said that the then IGP Jayasundara had also attended the NSC meeting held on that day for the first time since October 2018.

Jayawardena also submitted a letter sent by the IGP, warning senior Police officials, that they had received information that some groups could attack mosques. Through that letter, the IGP had instructed the Police officials to meet the moulavis and inform them of the dangers of such an attack, Jayawardena added.

 

 

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Udaya questions why CPC prevented from entering LPG market

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Minister Gammanpila at the abandoned Sapugaskanda facility

…reveals Rs 37 mn loss suffered during Asantha’s tenure as Chairman

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila recently alleged that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had suffered Rs 37 mn loss due to an abortive bid made by the state enterprise to enter the LPG (liquid petroleum gas) in 2008.

Lawmaker Gammanpila, who is also the leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, said that the CPC had made the attempt in violation of an agreement with Shell and Laugfs Gas to supply its entire output of LPG from the Sapugaskanda refinery to the above mentioned companies.

The Minister said so after inspecting an abandoned gas filling facility at the CPC facility at Sapugaskanda. The visit took place, on Thursday (24), after a three-member committee headed by the Energy Ministry’s head of Internal Audit D. P. S. J. Kumara inquired into the failed operation.

The CPC undertook the project during former national cricketer Ashantha de Mel’s tenure as the CPC Chairman. A. H. M. Fowzie had been the minister in charge of the subject.

The Minister called for a report when the media revealed that the facility had been abandoned a decade back.

Gammanpila vowed to reveal the person who had caused losses to the CPC, having misled its Board of Directors as regards the viability of the project.

The PHU leader requested state enterprise Litro Gas to explore the possibility of accommodating the facility in its current production setup. The minister described the facility installed at Sapugaskanda as technologically outdated even at the time 2008 administration acquired it.

When the CPC made an attempt to enter the LPG market, Laugfs successfully moved the Supreme Court against it. The CPC abandoned the facility following the Supreme Court directive.

The Energy Minister questioned how the CPC had been prevented from entering the gas market. Underscoring the importance of market competition, the lawmaker said that the Energy Ministry intended to inquire into how the CPC reached an understanding with competitors that prevented the state enterprise from entering the LPG market. The minister said that he would examine the obstacles placed before the CPC in entering the market without undermining Litro.

Declaring that Sri Lanka had substantial natural gas deposits in the Mannar basin, the Energy Minister said that the government intended to enter the gas market. Attorney-at-law Gammanpila said that a new enterprise would be established under the CPC to provide healthy competition.

Addressing the post-Cabinet media briefing on Sept. 10, co-Cabinet spokesperson Gammanpila said that Surath Ovitigama had been named the Director-General of the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat and Saliya Wickramasuriya had been appointed advisor.

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Saumya Liyanage removed from posts of Dean and Professor 

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From M.A. Kaleel, Kalmunai Corr. 

Professor Saumya Liyanage of the University of Visual and Performing Arts has been summarily removed from the posts of Professor and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies he was holding at the university. 

 The decision was taken by the University Council chaired by the Competent Authority of the University Professor Abayaratne Bandara. 

 According to the Council, the decision for his removal is that he had not obtained a postgraduate degree by research (Master or PhD) within the probationary period of eight years. When a lecturer is appointed on probationary basis, he is given eight years to complete postgraduate degree––a master’s or a PhD.  

Liyanage holds a PhD from La Trobe University, Australia and he claims he submitted his PhD thesis within the stipulated period of 8 years, and the university has recommended him for the award of PhD with minor corrections. The effective date of PhD could be the date of submission of corrected thesis or the date of annual convocation. It differs from university to university. 

Liyanage, who joined the university in 2007, was supposed to obtain his PhD before 2015, but the university has taken 5 years to detect that he has not completed his PhD within the probationary period. He was promoted as a Professor and the Dean of Graduate Studies.  

 Professor Abayaratne Bandara also served as the Director General of National Institute of Education.  When Bandula Gunawardena became the Education Minister, he removed Dr. Upali S. Sedera from the post of DG only a few months after his appointment and appointed Professor Abayaratne Bandara to the post.

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SF under delusion that he is still Army Chief – SLPP MP

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‘Even Vasu is capable of flooring him’

By Saman Indrajith

Badulla District SLPP MP Chamara Sampath Dassanayake told Parliament, yesterday, that the SJB Gampaha District MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was under the delusion that he was still commanding the army.

“He should realise that he is in Parliament. Yesterday, he threatened to take on the entire front row of government ranks single-handedly. We do not need an entire row of members to match him. We could send a single person that is our minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

MP Fonseka thinks all those here have passed only Grade Eight. What is wrong with a person with that kind of educational qualification becoming an MP? What about the late Mr. D. S. Senanayake? He was the first prime minister of the country.  He had passed only the fifth standard. We have had leaders who had not studied beyond Grade Eight. Didn’t they govern this country well? On the contrary, where is UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was considered educated and intelligent? What has he done? He is not even in this Parliament today. Was he able to govern this country successfully?”

“We know a lot about him and his ways of conduct. When he was the commander of the Army he sent a helicopter to Colombo to fetch two loaves of bread, while denying so many wounded soldiers the chance to be flown to Colombo. He also brought water from the Iyakkachi well in Vettailaikerni to Colombo because that was his favourite drinking water. We know all this”.

MP Dassanayake said that they had come to Parliament with great trust in it. Yet, he said that there were no thugs in the parliament and no room would be spared to turn the Ninth parliament into the same situation as the Eighth parliament.

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