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ETI properties sold illegally: Swarnavahini deal also questionable

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The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI), which was appointed to investigate irregularities in the Edirisinghe Trust Investments (ETI), has revealed that ETI properties had been sold illegally.

The PCoI said that money has also been laundered during the sale of the properties.

The commission has indicated that the government can seize the property and take legal action against the Edirisinghe family under the criminal law.

This PCoI was appointed in January 2020 by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to find out if irregularities had taken place when selling properties owned by the ETI group, with the intervention of the Central Bank, to pay back the depositors.

The Commission was headed by former Supreme Court Judge K.T. Chithrasiri and included former Solicitor General Suhada Gamlath and senior banker D.M. Gunasekara.

Meanwhile, this commission has also been entrusted to find out whether the sale of Swarnavahini media network to several companies including Ben Holdings is against the law.

The President has given instructions to relevant departments to take necessary actions regarding the commission’s recommendations.

The office-bearers of Ben Holdings at the time of the purchase of Swarnavahini. 

A threat to national security!

Meanwhile, media reports earlier revealed that the State Intelligence Service had warned that several directors of the foreign investing company which obtained shares of the EAP owned ‘Swarnavahini’ media network, have direct links with the LTTE.

On November 15, 2019, the State Ministry of Defence had informed the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) and the Ministry of Mass Media of this through the document number MOD / TEC / 01 / MGMR Network / 2019 (04).

A portion of the assets belonging to EAP Group of Companies was purchased by Ben Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd.

The company has been able to indirectly obtain 60% ownership of Swarnavahini, violating the laws and regulations of Sri Lanka.  

It was also revealed that three prominent figures at Ben Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd. have direct links to the LTTE when the company was in the process of purchasing Max TV owned by MGMR Networks.

Before the deal was processed, directors of the purchasing company required a clearance certificate from the Ministry of Defence and this information was revealed during the clearance process.

However, the security clearance process had not been required during the Swarnawahini deal because the license of the media channel was not obtained recently.

It was later revealed that Lyca Group Chairman Subaskaran Allirajah had provided funds for Ben Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd, Alex Lowell and Blue Summit Capital to obtain Swarnawahini shares.

Allirajah is also said to be a strong financial supporter of the British Conservative Party and former UK Prime Minister – John Major.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Mirror previously reported that there is a risk of EAP Group of Companies being confiscated based on this situation.

A post is also circulating on social media regarding this information.

The post is shown below

Interesting developments 

Meanwhile, it was interesting to note that the members of Maha Sangha presented Vishwa Keerthi, Sri Abhimana, Sri Janaranjana Deshabhimana award to Lyca Group Chairman Allirajah at the historic Sri Purvarama Vihara, Matara recently.

The award is said to be given on the basis of meritorious service, talent and conducting an exemplary life.

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Sri Lanka Railways GM passes away

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Sri Lanka Railways General Manager H. M. K. W. Bandara passed away today (23) due to a sudden illness.

He  was appointed as the railways chief in November 2023.

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Chinese communist party vice minister Sun Haiyan visits Sri Lanka

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Vice Minister of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party, Sun Haiyan, is set to arrive in Sri Lanka today for a two-day official visit, as reported by The Thinakaran Newspaper.

During her visit, Sun Haiyan is scheduled to engage in discussions with high-ranking government officials, including President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

The discussions are anticipated to cover various bilateral matters of mutual interest between China and Sri Lanka.

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Two killed in police shooting following failed checkpoint stop

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Two people died in police fire on Tuesday (23) morning.

The Police Media Division said that officers opened fire at a three wheeler that failed to comply with orders to stop at a checkpoint near the Meegoda – Delketiya junction.

The incident took place at around 1:50 AM.

Sri Lanka Police said that after officers ordered the three wheeler to stop, the driver had slowed down the vehicle, and those inside had opened fire at the police and fled to Moragahahena.

Accordingly, the Moragahahena Police was immediately informed of the shooting.

A group of officers from the Colombo South Crimes Division who were at the Moragahahena Police for a separate inquiry upon hearing the incident had attempted to stop the three wheeler from fleeing.

The three wheeler that continued to disregard orders to stop had proceeded to the Tyre Factory located along the Meepe Road in Moragahahena, where shots were fired at them by officers from the Colombo South Crimes Division.

Sri Lanka Police said two people who were injured in the shooting succumbed to their injuries upon admission to hospital.

Another person who was in the three wheeler had fled the scene.

The deceased were 42 and 35 year old males from Thanamalvila.

Police said a firearm was also recovered from the three wheeler’

(newsfirst.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by newsfirst.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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