Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in charge of Monaragala Sisira Kumara Herath was arrested by a team of Special Task Force (STF) officers last night (8) along with 15 kgs of cannabis and treasure hunting equipment.
The STF officers, acting on a tip-off that a treasure-hunting racket had been operating in the Monaragala area for the past few days, had been on the lookout for suspects.
Accordingly, when the STF officers were attempting to inspect a suspicious jeep, the SSP and a woman inside the vehicle had objected to searching their vehicle.
Subsequently, during the inspection of the SSP’s quarters, 15 kilos of cannabis and treasure hunting equipment were found concealed in the ceiling.
Meanwhile, six youths from Moratuwa hired by the SSP to treasure hunt were also found staying at the SSP’s residence.Following the questioning, a scanner which is being used to locate treasures had also been found.SSP Sisira Kumara Herath in charge of Monaragala division is said to be a close friend of Shasheendra Rajapaksa.This police officer has also been named as an accused in Easter Sunday attacks of 2019 and he also represented the police group that was concerned of the investigation and visited the Mahanayake Theras seeking their intervention.
5 arrested over hacking ATMs
Sri Lanka Police arrested five people in connection to hacking ATMs in Galle and stealing money.
Among the arrested are Bulgarians, and the arrests were made following investigations carried out by the Computer Crimes Division of Sri Lanka Police.
On Sunday (8) two men were arrested from the Havelock area in Colombo, and they are residents of Mount Lavinia and Negombo.
Interrogation of the suspects led to the arrest of one Bulgarian man, and the other was arrested when he was attempting to flee the country.
The second Bulgarian man was identified as the main suspect in the string of robberies, and he was arrested at the Katunayake Airport.
Sri Lanka Police also arrested the driver of the vehicle used to commit the crimes, from Pitigala. The vehicle was also seized.
The suspect stole Rs. 5.7 Million from ATMs in Baddegama, Rs. 4.8 Million from ATMs in Hikkaduwa, and Rs. 250,000/- from ATMs in Karapitiya.
The suspects are to be produced in court.
Cabinet nod to implement a cost-reflective electricity tariff formula
Cabinet approval has been granted to implement a cost reflective electricity tariff to be implemented from Jan 2023, Minister of Power and Energy – Kanchana Wijesekara has tweeted.
Approval was granted during today’s Cabinet of Ministers meeting.
However, future measures are expected to be determined after the proposal is tabled before the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL).
Conservator General of Forests refutes reports on SL forest cover
The Conservator General of Forests Mr. K.M.A Bandara said that the media reports implying that Sri Lanka’s forest cover has decreased to 16% are false.
The President’s Media Division says that Mr. Bandara has said this in response to a query made over the media reports on the instructions of President’s Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake and that the Presidential Secretariat had focused its attention regarding these media reports.
The PMD statement issued in this regard further says :
The assessment of forest cover is carried out every five years and the census conducted in 2020 is scheduled to be completed in June this year. According to the census conducted in 2015, the natural forests of Sri Lanka stood at 29.15% (1,912,970 hectares) of the total land extent.
The Conservator General of Forests also said that although there has been some reduction in the amount of forests due to various development activities and other human activities in the country, there has definitely been no decrease in the amount of forests up to 16% as stated in the media reports.
According to media reports, if the forest area in Sri Lanka is 16% of the total land extent, then the existing forest area in the country should be 1,040,000 hectares. This means that 872,970 hectares of forests should have been destroyed during the seven years from 2015, which is 124,710 hectares per year and 341 hectares of forest destruction per day.
He also said that the method used to assess the forests should have been described in the presentation of data on forests. Basic points such as the definition of forests, the method of estimating forest size, and the estimation of forest size should have been mentioned in the report. However, there is no source from which the relevant data was obtained in the media reports suggesting that the forest cover had decreased.
The Conservator General further stated that if there is widespread forest destruction, as reported in the media, it should have been observed by the Department of Forest, the Department of Wildlife Conservation, the Sri Lanka Police, and the Sri Lanka Air Force, which monitors forests from the air. However, such extensive forest destruction has not been reported to any of these institutions. He also stated that the Forest Department is updating forest maps and that no such forest destruction was observed during those activities.