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TID in the dark about Zahran’s whereabouts when alert came



by Rathindra Kuruwita

Kalmunai Sub Division of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) had been asked to investigate and report on NTJ leader Zahran Hashim and his associates after TID received a foreign intelligence alert about a possible terrorist attack, Ruwan Kumara Ranawaka Pathirana, former OIC of the unit on Religious extremism at the TID, on Monday (31), told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

The witness, on Monday, said that the then Director of the TID, DIG Waruna Jayasundara had instructed his unit to arrest Zahran, his brother Rilwan Hashim, Milhan, Zainee Moulavi and Shahid,who were  mentioned in the foreign report before May 01, 2019.

“Since the suspects were living in the Eastern Province, we were asked to seek the assistance of the Kalmunai Subdivision of the TID,” Pathirana added.

OIC of the Kalmunai subdivision had sent a report to the headquarters on 17 April, 2019, without any useful information to help arrest the suspects, Pathirana said. The report had information about two places where Rilwan had previously lived and said that Rilwan, at that time, was hiding at an unspecified location following a clash in the Kattankudy in March 2017, he said.

Members of the PCoI asked the witness whether the report referred  to a motorcycle bomb exploded  on 16 April, 2019, in Palamunai,  Kattankudy. That was a dry run Zahran and his associates carried out prior to Easter Sunday attacks. Pathirana said nothing had been mentioned about it in the report.

“I came to know about it after the bombings. The report also said that Army Mohideen, a strong supporter of Zahran, was also hiding somewhere at the time and had firearms in his possession.”

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Foreign qualified medical students protest



A group of foreign medical degree holders protested opposite the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (23) requesting that tangible measures be taken to conduct the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) without further delay.

They alleged that over 1,500 students had been deprived of the opportunity to sit the examination due to the fault of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, which is now under investigation by a committee, appointed by Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi.

Photo: A section of the protesting students (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

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SJB insists referendum necessary besides 2/3 majority in Parliament



Supreme Court moved against 20A

By Chitra Weerarathne

General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, yesterday (23) filed a petition in the Supreme Court stating that the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution was inconsistent with the Constitution. It requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and approval by people at a referendum for passage, the SJV has argued.

The SJB says 20A violates people’s sovereignty and franchise enshrined in Article (3) and (4) of the Constitution.

The petitioner has argued that the provisions in clause 55 of the Bill are inconsistent with the public trust doctrine and the principle of checks and balances and would prejudicially affect public finance.

 The clause 54 of the Bill seeks to repeal Article 156 A of the Constitution, which provides constitutional recognition to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or corruption, the petition says.

 The petition says 20A seeks to repeal the prohibition on dual citizens being elected to Parliament and to the post of President.

The power of the Auditor General to audit the state institutions has been curtailed, the petition says, arguing that it could be detrimental to the economy.

It will be detrimental to the country if the Constitutional Council is replaced by a Parliamentary Council, the SJB General Secretary’s has contended in his petition.

Clause 20 (2) of the proposed 20A has restricted the powers of the Election Commission as regards the conduct of elections, the petitioner has argued.

The 20A states that an omission by the President could no longer be challenged through a fundamental rights violation petitions in the Supreme Court, the petitioner has said, adding that the Bill seeks to further enhance the powers of the President by allowing him to unilaterally remove the Prime Minister. The President would not be accountable to Parliament, the petition says.

The 20A would repeal Article 70/ (1) of the Constitution and enable the President to dissolve Parliament even immediately after a general election, the SJB General Secretary argues.

The respondent to the petition is the Attorney General.

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Lawyer Hijaz’s foundation received funds from banned foreign outfit – CID tells court



By A.J.A.A beynayake and Kasuni Rebecca

The CID yesterday informed the Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage that Save the Pearls Trust run by lawyer Hijaz Hisbullah, now in custody for allegedly aiding and abetting one of the Easter Sunday bombers, had received Rs.13 million from a banned organisation named the Caliphate of Qatar.

The CID told court that according to the bank accounts of the trust the money had been received by it during the last few years and the police had launched an investigation to ascertain whether the funds had been used for terrorist activities.

The CID told court the investigation had been launched under the Money Laundering Act and a psychologist’s opinion had been sought on the book titled “Navarasam” found in a madrasa (school teaching Islam) run by Save the Pearls Trust in Puttalam.

The Magistrate order the CID to submit to court a Sinhala translation of the book and examine whether the contents of the book promoted terrorism.

The case will be taken up again on October 7.

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