It was much more than potatoes

A container that had been declared as carrying potatoes turned out to be also carrying babul laced with narcotics, various creams, tobacco and beedi, Customs said yesterday.

Director Customs K.Ranjan told the Sunday Times during a routine scanning of the container it was found that behind the bags of potatoes that had been placed towards the front section of the container there were cardboard boxes with other undeclared items including contraband.

He said the value of the undeclared items was estimated to be around Rs. eight million. The consignment had arrived from India. The importer had been identified and action would be taken against him Mr. Ranjan said.

Three company directors charged with double-dealing

A director of Seagull Group of Companies, Kirubanandan was enlarged on Rs. 50 million bail before being permitted to leave for Canada to attend a wedding while two other directors were also charged by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in the Chief Magistrate's Court, Mt. Lavinia in connection with cheating, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust by failing to provide transfer deeds to a buyer of apartment complexes built by the company.

These apartments were at De Kretser Housing Complex at Dickman's Road, Bambalapitiya and Seagull Complex at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7 built by Seagull Group of Companies.
The three directors are Messrs. Vargeesan, Kirubanandan and Surendran. Bail was granted by Mt. Lavinia Chief Magistrate Mrs. Nirosha Fernando.

Mr. Nithi Murugesu appearing for the Directors made the application on behalf of Mr. Kirubanandan that he has to attend a wedding in Canada and sought permission from the Magistrate's Court to attend the function.

Mr. Upul Jayasuriya appearing with Mr. Ravi Matugama for the prosecution assisted by the Criminal Investigations Department informed court that the suspects having failed to execute the transfer deeds have also siphoned out of the country large sums of money in violation of foriegn exchange laws and the matter is now being examined by the Attorney General's Department to forward indictment against the suspects.

The Court imposed enhanced bail of Rs. 50 million on Mr. Kiribanandan and ordered him to return to the country before January 30, 2011.

Gangaramaya reaches out to flood victims, appeals for aid

Part of the proceeds from this year’s Gangarama Perahera, due to parade the streets on February 16 and 17, will be diverted to help flood victims in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, said Gangaramaya Podi Hamaduru, the Ven Galaboda Gnanissara Thera. Further public assistance has been sought to help flood victims and to rebuild the damaged infrastructure including the irrigation tanks.

“We have received much aid already by way of dry rations and other donations and more donations of dry rations will be accepted by the committee, which does not want cash donations. All such donations must be sent to the Gangarama temple in Colombo” he said.

Already three lorry-loads of relief have been sent to Ampara and the northern areas, while those needing specific relief may direct them through the Religious organiser of the presidential secretariat.
Though the weather has been unkind to us, the spilling over of all rivers is a happy augury to our country, and it is the duty of those institutions who can help, to assist in repairing the breached bunds which caused the flooding.

All those desirous of being involved in the restoration of tanks breached by the floods, may contact the Gangaramaya at Sri Jinarathana road Colombo 2, for details.

The Gangaramaya is currently helping to uplift the basic facilities for pilgrims. It has helped 500 pirivenas and 1,250 temples in their restoration work, while requests from 5,000 more temples have been received by us, and we appeal for donations to meet those appeals.

Move to quicken justice for Tiger suspects

The committee appointed to study the cases of LTTE suspects held under detention orders and make recommendations on expediting their cases, is due to make visits to their detention centres in the next few weeks.

Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando who heads the four-member committee told the Sunday Times that according to available figures there were around 1,500 held under detention orders.
He said they would be trying to complete their study and provide recommendations as soon as possible.

“We were appointed on Tuesday and on Wedneday we visited the Boossa detention centre and interviewed 182 detainees. In Omantai there are more than 600 detainees. We hope to visit the centre”, he said.

The committee includes Senior State Counsel P. Kumararatnam, Chethiya Goonesekera and Dinal Ratnayake. Its appointment follows a recommendation by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to expedite the processing of detained LTTE suspects.

Earlier, following rehabilitation, 5,586 LTTE cadres out of the 11,696 detained after the war were released.

Private sector firms, mostly in the apparel export sector, have shown interest to recruit them. In June last year 400 rehabilitated female LTTE cadres received employment at a garment factory.

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