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Riyaj’s release takes unexpected turn: AG summons CID Chief

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…SLPP Parliamentary Group flays police

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Asimmering controversy over the recent releasing of Riyaj Bathiudeen, arrested over his alleged involvement with those responsible for 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, has taken an unexpected turn with Attorney General Dappula de Livera PC summoning Deputy inspector General in charge of the CID S.P. Ranasinghe and its Chief Investigative Officer.

Ranasinghe took over the CID after the government removed DIG Nuwan Wedisinghe, who had been the senior officer in charge at the time Riyaj arrested five months ago under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) was released. Wedisinghe thereupon received appointment as the Acting DIG Western Province (North).

The AG took that decision after more than hundred ruling party members of parliament, including ministers, in a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa demanded a thorough inquiry and Riyaj Bathiudeen be re-arrested.

Wedisinghe received appointment as DIG, CID in late Dec 2019 following the presidential election.

Among those who had signed the petition demanding the re-arrest of Riyaj Bathiudeen, a brother of Samagi Jana Balavegaya MP and the leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Rishad Bathiudeen were many ministers. Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has signed the petition first.

AG’s Coordinating Officer State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne told The Island that the DIG in charge of the CID now along with the Chief Investigative Officer were asked to bring what she called all investigative material relating to the Riyaj Bathiudeen case.

There hadn’t been a previous case of the CID being summoned by the AG over releasing of suspects taken under the PTA.

The government parliamentary group, in its letter dated Oct 9, pointed out to the President and the PM that Riyaj Bathiudeen arrested on April 14 had been set free on Sept 30 even without him ever being produced before a court. The SLPP group emphasized that the Police Spokesman attorney-at-law SSP Jaliya Senaratne revealed at a media briefing that Riyaj had been to a hotel with one of the Easter Sunday bombers in addition to having direct links with another suicide bomber. The SLPP group further pointed out that no less a person than former Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on Oct 8 how Riyaj facilitated Easter Sunday mastermind Zahran Hashim fleeing to India in 2018 by sea. Police headquarters also removed SSP Senaratne.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a statement issued recently denied any deal with Rishad Bathiudeen in the wake of Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo strongly protesting the suspect’s release. The Cardinal called a media briefing close on the heels of Internal Security Minister Chamal Rajapaksa shaking hands with Bathiudeen in Vavuniya.

In addition to investigations conducted regarding Riyaj Bathiudeen’s alleged involvement, the CID also recorded Rishad Bathiudeen’s statement regarding favours granted to a copper factory at Wellampitiya owned by one of the suicide bombers, 36-year-old Inshaf Ahamed, who carried out the attack on

Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Former police spokesman Senaratne is on record as having said that part of the profits of the company had been used to fund the Easter Sunday attacks. Inshaf Ahamed’s elder brother, Illham Ibrahim, 38 carried out attacks on Shangri-La along with Zahran Hashim. Their father, spice tycoon Y.M. Ibrahim, who had been on the JVP National List at the 2015 parliamentary election, was taken into custody just hours after the Easter attacks from his palatial Dematagoda house where his daughter-in-law triggered multiple blasts causing several deaths, including police officers.

Sources said that the SLPP parliamentary group wrote to the President amidst intense speculation of an influential section of the government seeking an understanding with Bathiudeen’s party to enable them to vote for the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution. The ACMC secured four seats on the SJB ticket. Baithiudeen first entered parliament in 2001 on the UNP ticket and re-elected on the same ticket in 2004. He was an SLMC nominee. After the UNP’s defeat at the general election in April 2004, Bathiudeen switched allegiance to the UPFA. ACMC contested the 2010 general election on the UPFA ticket. Bathiudeen switched allegiance to the UNP at the 2015 presidential election and contested on the UNP ticket at the 2015 general election. At the last election, he contested on the SJB ticket.



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123rd Birth anniversary of Dr S A Wickramasinghe commemorated

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The 123rd Birth anniversary of Dr S A Wickramasinghe, the founder of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka was commemorated in Matara today (13).

Dr Sugiswara Abeywardena Wickramasinghe co-founded the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and was elected to the Ceylon State Council in 1931 and 1946. He founded the Communist Party of Sri Lanka in 1943 and represented the Akuressa Electorate in parliament from 1956 to 1977.

Members of Parliament Dullas Alahapperuma, Weerasumana Weerasinghe and members of  the Communist Party of Sri Lanka and family placed floral tributes at his monument in Matara.

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Social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity – President

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President Rani Wickremesinghe in his New Year Message stressed that social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity

The full text of the President’s message follows:

“The progression of nations, countries and the global community is propelled by the perpetual cycle of renewal, where innovative ideas are nurtured and novel creations come to fruition.

Embracing renewal in accordance with the traditional New Year, the calendar year, or the changing seasons, individuals across the globe find themselves revitalized, endowed with fresh opportunities for growth and advancement. Beneath the surface of these myriad renewals lies a fundamental truth; the paramount importance of social relationships and collective unity.

During the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, we engage in a profound renewal of self, centering our focus on nurturing bonds and fostering a sense of gregariousness. This emphasis on interpersonal bonds is the cornerstone of traditional New Year rituals observed across diverse cultures worldwide.

It is important to emphasize the significance of this pivotal point, particularly during the New Year festivities, as it serves as a poignant reminder of the essence of human connection and communal solidarity.

In the dawn of the New Year, social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity. With this understanding in mind, I extend my heartfelt wishes for a joyous and fulfilling Sinhala and Tamil New Year.”

 

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Sinhala and Tamil New Year auspicious times

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The Auspicious times for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year 2024 are as follows

13th April
02:41pm –  Punya Kalaya
09:05pm  – Dawn of the New Year
11:06pm –  Lighting of the Hearth

14th April 
00:06am – Starting work, Partaking of meals and transactions

15th April
10:17am – Anointing

17th April
06:52am – Leaving for work

18th April 
10:16am – Planting trees

 

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