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Police drain irrigation well in search of woman’s head



by Norman Palihawadana

Police sleuths probing the brutal killing of a woman, whose decapitated body was found inside a travelling bag at Dam Street in Pettah on Monday, have begun draining an irrigation well at Badalkumbura on suspicion that the police officer may have dumped the victim’s head there to prevent it from being traced, a senior police official said.

“We are using motors to pump out the water from the well”, he said.

However, the head of the woman has not been found so far, he added.

Police investigators who searched the sub inspector’s house at Badalkumbura discovered the ashes of what they suspect was a travelling bag set on fire by him in the backyard.

The policeman was captured on CCTV footage dumping a travelling bag with the woman’s decapitated body at Dam Street. Investigations revealed that he had brought the body in a private Colombo-bound bus from Hanwella.

The victim was identified as a 30-year-old resident of Theppanawa in Kuruwita. Her remains have been sent for DNA testing, police said.

The body of the 53-year-old suspect police officer later committed suicide by hanging himself. A phial of poison was recovered from the scene where his body was found hanging from a tree.

Police said the sub inspector was attached to the police station at Buttala. He was married, but was believed to have been involved in a relationship with the woman whose body was found in the travelling bag.

Meanwhile, opposition parliamentarian Harin Fernando, responding to social media reports that the police officer served in his security detail at one time, said that at the time served as a chief minister and later a minister of the former government, he was given a seven-member Ministerial Security Division squad. The policeman concerned, then a sergeant, was also member of the security contingent.

Later, the security detail, including this policeman, was withdrawn. Thereafter, the policeman had served under two other MPs – Navin Dissanayake and Hesha Withanage. Thereafter, he left the MSD and rejoined the regular police force and was transferred to Buttala, the MP said.

“There was no other connection between us apart from the fact that he served in my security contingent for three years. He has not even voted for me. I contested from the Badulla district, while he was from the Moneragala district”, Fernando said.

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Overtime gravy train for public sector back



Govt. MPs make contradictory statements on state of economy

By Shamindra Ferdinando

UNP National List MP Wajira Abeywardena on Sunday (26) disclosed the issuance of a circular by the Finance Ministry to restore overtime and other payments in the public sector.

The declaration was made in Galle soon after Transport and Media Minister Bandula Gunawardane lamented that the government was short of billions of rupees to pay public sector salaries, pensions, Samurdhi payments and meet recurrent expenditure.

Minister Gunawardena and UNP National List MP Abeywardena addressed the local media after the handing over of several buses to the Galle SLTB depot.

Cabinet Spokesman Gunawardena said that the government needed as much as Rs 196 bn before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and its projected revenue was Rs 173 bn. In addition to that Rs 500 mn was required to settle what Minister Gunawardena called bilateral debt.

Minister Gunawardane said that a part of the first tranche of USD 333 mn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would be utilised to pay public sector salaries.

Of the USD 333 mn received so far, USD 121 had been used to pay the first installment of USD 1 bn credit line secured from India early last year, according to State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera in the second week of August last year revealed as much as Rs 3 bn had been paid as overtime to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) workers for several months. This disclosure was made in response to a query raised by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella.

One of the major demands of the public sector trade unions on the warpath over the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government’s new tax formula is the restoration of overtime.

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Now, Opposition wants Finance Secy. hauled up before Privileges Committee



Prof G L Peris

Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (27) urged Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to act speedily on the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) request to summon Finance Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena before the parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges.

Addressing the media on behalf of the Freedom People’s Alliance, the former External Affairs Minister said that the Treasury Secretary had challenged the parliament by withholding funds allocated in the budget 2023 to the Election Commission thereby sabotaging the election.

Prof. Peiris said that there couldn’t be a far worse violation of parliamentary privileges than a government official undermining Parliament.

Instead of appreciating the intervention made by the Supreme Court to facilitate the delayed Local Government polls, the ruling party had sought to challenge the apex court, Prof. Peiris said, urging Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to fulfill his obligations.

Prof. Pieris said that if the government lacked funds, just one percent of USS 333 mn received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was sufficient to conduct the election.

The ex-minister said that the IMF wouldn’t oppose the utilisation of a fraction of the first tranche of USD 2.9 bn loan facility provided over a period of four years to guarantee the constitutional rights of the Sri Lankan electorate. (SF)

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Cabinet nod for fuel distribution by three foreign companies



By Rathindra Kuruwita

Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera announced yesterday that the Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval for allowing China’s Sinopec, Australia’s United Petroleum and RM Parks of the USA, in collaboration with multinational Oil and Gas Company – Shell plc, to enter the fuel retail market in Sri Lanka.

The minister said that each of the three companies would be given 150 dealer operated fuel stations, which are currently operated by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). A further 50 fuel stations at new locations will be established by each selected company, he said.

They will be granted licences to operate for 20 years to import, store, distribute and sell petroleum products in Sri Lanka, the minister tweeted.

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