Samurdhi officer is main suspect of Gampaha heist

The main suspect of the robbery of Rs.18,000,000 worth of jewellery and cash carried out by an armed gang from a financial institute at Gampaha and fled has been identified as Samantha Kumara, a project manager of Samurdhi attached to the Neluwa Divisional Secretariat.  He was recognized when the theft was on CCTV cameras installed in the institution.

The arrested suspect is a resident of Haththipitiya, Neluwa and a strong supporter of Minister Piyasena Gamage. He was involved, on behalf of Minister Piyasena Gamage, in organizing agitations held in support of impeachment of the former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayke.

However, he still holds the post of project manager of Samurdhi Association of Neluwa and no action has been taken yet against him by the Samurdhi Authority.

Rs.4000 million more for Dayasiri?

Mr. Dayasiri Jaysekera has sent letters of demand asking for Rs.4000 million from eight persons alleging they insulted him by stating he was given Rs.250 million to cross over from the UNP to the government.

Among the persons who have been sent letters of demand are UNP Parliamentarians Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Ranjan Ramanayaka, Harin Fernando and Mr. Daya Gamage. He has also sent letters of demand to editors and writers of two weekend alternative newspapers.

A gang looking for journalists’ pedigree!

The attack on Mandana  Abeywickrema, Co- Editor of Sunday Leader and  President of Sri Lanka Journalists’ Trade Union (SLJTU), is an act that goes beyond a mere act of plunder says JVP Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake.

Speaking at a media conference held yesterday (25th) Mr. Dissanayake said, “Things have happened that indicate the attack was not a mere act of plunder. The argument the government tries to promote is that such an act would not be manipulated at a time Navaneedan Pillai visits Sri Lanka. However, looking back at the past we see this government carrying out such idiotic and stupid actions at times when the international attention was drawn to our country. Why do the ‘plunderers’ spend about two and a half hours going through her files and documents? Only ten minutes were spent for the heist at Gampaha.  It seems these ‘plunderers’ are a curious lot!

They had been studying her documents, history and pedigree to find out whether the place was suitable for a theft! The act, how the incidents were worked out and incidents that occurred earlier cast a justifiable doubt. It is the government that should clear it. No one has been arrested regarding the acts that occurred earlier.  What really happened was the government refrained from arresting the perpetrators.

One person has died and several persons have been arrested regarding this incident. The government should carry out a comprehensive investigation regarding their history, where they were employed and whether they were connected with any thefts carried out earlier. For, the responsibility of clearing the doubt, the suspicion the people and journalists have regarding this incident is with the government. We hope the government would carry out a correct investigation regarding this incident at least.”

Reveal Mandana’s attackers – SLWJA

Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association has issued a press release demanding that the suspects of the attack on the President of Sri Lanka Journalists’ Trade Union (SLJTU) and ‘Sunday Leader’ journalist Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema’s residence should be revealed.

The press release with the signature of its General Secretary Ranga Jayasuriya states:

“Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association condemns the attack on Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema by a gang of thugs that broke into her residence on Saturday early morning, assaulted her and threatened residents.

The gang of thugs that broke into the residence of Mrs. Abeywickrema on the 24th at about 2.00 a.m. had stayed in the house for about three hours messing around, plundering her jewellery and going through her files and documents.

Meanwhile, a posse of police officers that had arrived on information from her husband who had arrived at the house at the time, tried to apprehend the suspect and in the ensuing shootout one suspect was killed. The other suspects were arrested and have been detained.

We, as the Sri Lanka working Journalists Association, call upon authorities to hold an independent investigation and emphasize that the suspects should be revealed to the country.”

Attack on Mandana is a continuation of media suppression – SLJTU

The members of the gang that broke into the residence of journalist Mandana Abeywickrema are not thieves but as a part of the continuation of the media suppression states the General Secretary of Sri Lanka Journalists’ Trade Union (SLJTU) Priyantha Karunaratna.

He said this to the media when he arrived at the residence of the President of SLJTU the journalist of ‘Sunday Leader’ Mandana Abeywickrema after it was attacked by thugs and the journalist and her family were threatened. He said the sordid and organized act had been carried out by those who detest and are alarmed at the practice of the SLJTU and journalism of Ms. Mandana Abeywickrema.

He emphasized that the act would have culminated with the end to Mandana’s life and pointed out that during the last two weeks a certain ‘national’ newspaper had slandered Mandana’s media practice and the policy of SLJTU as unpatriotic.

Also, several days ago a body of a dead cat had been placed opposite Madana’s residence and the day before the attack a tyre of Manadana’s husband Romesh’s vehicle had been cut. These acts point out that there had been a group that had been observing the residence he added.

The gang that had come to harass or murder Mandana was able to be cornered accidentally and was due to the timely action of her husband said Mr. Karunaratna.