Minister Wijesekara’s statement recorded
Police have recorded a statement from Minister Mahinda Wijesekara over a complaint made by former Lake House Chairman and journalist Lucien Rajakarunanayake, over an alleged death threat by the minister, SSP D.P.L. Dissanayake told The Sunday Times.

He said that a police officer had been sent to the residence of the minister and the statement of the minister recorded. The minister had denied the allegations made by Mr. Rajakarunanayake.

Mr. Rajakarunanayake had lodged the complaint at Colombo Police Headquarters against the Minister on June 1 stating the minister had threatened him with death on May 30 at the Chinese Restaurant in the Hilton Hotel.

At the restaurant Minister Wijesekara is alleged to have told Mr. Rajakarunanayake that he would finish him off during the tenure of the UNF Government because he had referred to him (the minister) in one of his articles written two years ago as "Kaluwara Mahinda".

Following this alleged threat Mr. Rajakarunanayake had also brought this issue to the immediate notice of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as a protective measure. However Minister Mahinda Wijesekara last week denied the allegation of a threat levelled against Mr. Rajakarunanayake saying that it 'is completely a false story' but did not elaborate on the issue.

Question over councillors
By Nalaka Nonis
The Elections Department is awaiting a response from the Attorney General over the legality of the position of 33 provincial council members who were appointed from outside the nomination list.

Deputy Commissioner M. C. Arunthavachelvam told The Sunday Times they had sought the AG's advice after the Supreme Court gave an order that in the event of a vacancy arising in the Provincial Council, the power of the secretary of such a political party to nominate an alternative member is confined to candidates whose nominations appeared in the original nomination list and who secured some preferences at the election.

Japan denies witch-hunt on Lankan illegal immigrants
The Japanese embassy in Colombo discounted theories that a special witch-hunt was on for Sri Lankans overstaying their visas in that country after an unruly incident at a Buddhist temple when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe attended a ceremony last Sunday.

Information Secretary Matsuo Hideaki told The Sunday Times that the Japanese government had always kept a close tab on illegal immigrants. "This is a routine job, we cannot confirm that they (Japanese police) have stepped up operations after the Lankaji temple incident", he said.

Mr. Matsuo said police investigations into the incident where Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was heckled and the chief monk Ven. Banagala Upatissa was almost manhandled by a group of Sri Lankans living in Japan was continuing.

The Sri Lankans had started shouting at the Prime Minister questioning him about the peace process with the LTTE, while shouting abuse at the monk for being a "stooge" and going to meet LTTE chief negotiator Anton Balasingham in his hotel during the Hakone round of peace talks.

State media in Colombo accused the hecklers of being JVP members and said that the Japanese government had begun a process of arresting "thousands" of Sri Lankans living illegally in Japan and deporting them.

The JVP has denied that the hecklers are JVP members and said these people had only wanted to ask questions from the visiting Prime Minister about the peace process after a brief speech Mr. Wickremesinghe made about the process.

A similar incident had occurred when the same monk had arranged a visit to the temple by Minister Milinda Moragoda few months back. Mr. Moragoda had been unable to answer some hostile questions. The incident was, however, not reported.

Bail for Tigers
An LTTE cadre who was arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy in May for allegedly possessing weapons when going in a boat was released on surety bail of Rs. 25,000 by Trincomalee Magistrate S.Thiagalingam last week. The suspect was ordered to appear on July 7.

In another case two LTTE cadres who were arrested by the Sri Lanka Army in the Tampalakam-Palampoddar area in Trincomalee district for allegedly possessing weapons were also released on surety bail of Rs 25,000.

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