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Luxury vehicles worth over Rs 250 mn found

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Police say arrest of Dematagoda Ruwan culmination of high-profile probe

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police say the recent arrest of Ruwan Chamila alias Dematagoda Ruwan is the culmination of a high level investigation undertaken by law enforcement authorities probing threats posed by the underworld to national security.

Police Spokesperson Attorney-at-Law SSP Nihal Thalduwa explained how following a government intervention at the highest level, the police initiated a special investigation targeting money laundering.

“The police discussed this matter even with the banking sector as part of the overall efforts to identify those involved,” the official said, adding that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested Ruwan Chamila on Oct 29 following a painstaking investigation.

“Initially, we took into custody several luxury vehicles estimated to be worth at least Rs 180 mn,” SSP Thalduwa said, adding that two other vehicles Rs 20 and Rs 7 mn were recovered later.

Ruwan Chamila is the brother of Siranayaka Pathiranage Chaminda Ravi Jayanath alias Dematagoda Chaminda sentenced to death in 2016 over the killing of one-time PA lawmaker Bharatha Lakshman Premachnadra in Oct 2011.

Dematagoda Chaminda at the time of the incident had been a bodyguard of then lawmaker Duminda Silva, who received a presidential pardon from incumbent President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Investigators also took into custody a Land Cruiser estimated to be worth Rs 20 mn from Dematagoda Chaminda’s wife, in addition to a BMW. The police say the woman managed a nightclub in the Borella police area.

According to SSP Thalduwa, since the CID launched investigations into cases of unexplained wealth amassed by various persons properties worth Rs 340 mn had been temporarily taken over pending further investigations.

Responding to another query, SSP Thalduwa said that an arrest made by Indian authorities recently and sharing of information with local law enforcement too facilitated the investigation into activities of Dematagoda Ruwan. The official said that investigators also recovered gold estimated to be worth Rs 22 mn from him.



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Forex crisis will lead to power cuts, warns Ranil

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Udaya pooh-poohs warning

By Saman indrajith

UNP leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that the country would face power cuts soon if the government did not resolve the foreign exchange crisis urgently.

Participating in the third reading debate on Budget 2022, the UNP leader said the forex issue could result in Sri Lanka running out of money to import fuel.

Wickremesinghe called on the government to make a statement on the current situation.

The UNP leader pointed out that Sri Lanka had only Rs. 1.5 billion in foreign reserves, out of which Rs. 300 million were gold reserves, which meant only Rs. 1.2 billion was the liquid amount in foreign reserves.

The former PM said the low foreign reserves could lead to the country facing power issues in the future as there would be no funds left for fuel imports. However, the Minister of Power, Udaya Gammanpila, assured that Sri Lanka had enough fuel stocks.

The Minister said it was reasonable for people to assume that there would be power cuts in the future due to the foreign exchange crisis.

Reiterating that Sri Lanka had necessary fuel stocks, Minister Gammanpila said the fuel in hand was sufficient for the next 40 days.

Although the Sapugaskanda Oil refinery had been closed for 50 days, measures would be taken to resume operations at an early date, the Minister added, assuring that the foreign exchange crisis would not result in power cuts.

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State Minister Ranasinghe assures farmers using organic fertiliser compensation in event of losses

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Provincial Councils and Local Government State Minister Roshan Ranasinghe speaking at a meeting held at the auditorium of the Polonnaruwa District Secretariat yesterday

Provincial Councils and Local Government State Minister Roshan Ranasinghe yesterday assured that the government would compensate any paddy farmer who suffered losses due to adopting organic fertiliser.

Speaking at a meeting held at the auditorium of the Polonnaruwa District Secretariat, the Minister said that even if the government had not proposed to allocate funds in the Budget proposals for possible losses to paddy farmers using organic fertiliser, funds would be obtained from a supplementary estimate for the purpose.

Ranasinghe said that it was wrong to state that the government shifted from chemical to organic fertiliser abruptly. The government had promised to do so in its election manifesto and people had approved it by giving a two-third majority of votes for that. The UNP too had planned to adopt organic fertilisers in place of chemical fertilisers some 30 years back.

The State Minister said that during the past 30 years all the governments had spent billions of rupees to increase awareness of organic fertilisers among officials and the general public. In addition, there had been numerous projects introduced with the assistance of the World Bank to promote organic cultivation in the country.

Minister Ranasinghe said that there were chemical fertilisers, weedicides and pesticides and there was information that some traders sell them at exorbitant prices. The government would get the Consumer Affairs Authority and police to implement the law against the black marketers.

He said that some farmers had raised concern that nano-nitrogen fertiliser would be washed away owing to the heavy rains, but the government would supply that fertiliser again as it was promised by State Minister of Organic Fertilizer Sashindra Rajapaksa.

The meeting was attended by ministry officials and representatives of the farmers’ associations in the Polonnaruwa District.

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Arjuna quits UNP

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World Cup winning captain and former minister Arjuna Ranatunga yesterday quit the UNP over its failure to get its act together

Ranatunga has communicated his decision to leave the UNP to the Leader, Secretary, Deputy Leader, and the Assistant Leader of the UNP.

Ranatunga said, in a letter to the UNP leadership, that he decided to join the United National Front ahead of the 2015 presidential election to make a change for the common good.

He has said as the first step towards that objective he contested the 2015 general election and secured the highest number of votes from the Gampaha District.

Ranatunga said that when many left the party in 2020, he remained with the UNP in order to protect it.

He said in 2020 the UNP suffered a massive loss, “and what is required is to prepare a programme to overcome the present and future challenges”.

“However, as there seems to be no such preparation there appears to be no purpose in remaining with the party”, Ranatunga said.

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