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Victim blackmailed and killed for refusing to part with Rs 1 mn

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Killing of Buddhist monk

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Sleuths investigating the recent abduction and the killing of 65-year-old Ven Uduwila Dharmasiri have recovered a file, a bank pass book and a diary belonging to the slain monk from a house situated in Makola North, police said.

Investigators are now looking for the owner of the house.

Police found the monk’s body in a cemetery in the Kotadeniyawa police area about 48 hours after he left his temple at Kodikanda, Thunmodara, Koswatta, on January 2 with a group of persons known to him.

They said that a van and three wheeler used by the group had been recovered and the investigators were on the trail of the owner of the Makola North house where the monk was killed.

Authoritative police sources said that the autopsy revealed that the monk died due to suffocation as a result of those who abducted him forcing a fabric in his mouth.

Among those so far arrested in connection with the incident were the mother and father of a novice monk who had been with Ven Dharmasiri at the same hospital. In addition to them, there were two other persons in custody, including the woman’s paramour. Produced before Avissawella Magistrate, on different days on Jan 5 and 6, they were remanded till January 19.

Sources said that investigations revealed that the woman, her husband and her paramour had blackmailed Ven Dharmasiri for more than a year. They had forced the monk to part with money periodically warning the police would be informed of him sexually assaulting the novice monk. Fearing the police, the monk had given in to the blackmailers and finally the victim refused to pay any more when he was asked to pay Rs 1 mn.

Those who visited the temple on January 2 had demanded that the monk accompany them or face the consequences.

Sources said that the monk had parted with a substantial amount of money over a year.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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