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Plot to get Harak Kata freed; two phones found

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Two mobile phones used by the suspects who tried to get drug trafficker and organized criminal Nadun Chinthaka Wickramaratne alias Harak Kata freed from Criminal Investigation Department (CID) custody was found burnt in a garbage dump outside a hotel on Shramadana Mawatha in Kadawatha today (19), the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) said.

The two suspects are a constable and a driver who drove the vehicle in the failed plot.

On September 10, the Constable tried to drug the CID investigating officers by offering them anesthetic infused milk toffee as part of the failed plot to get Harak Kata released. Police said that it has been 20 days since the constable had gone into hiding.

On the advice of CCD Director ASP Neville De Silva, who conducted investigations in this regard, a team including Unit 1 Inspector S.P.D. G. Nishantha led by Chief Inspector Anselm De Silva, arrested the driver at the Sea Road in Weligama on the 10th.

The arrested suspect, Dinesh Tharanga, a resident of Ibbawala in Weligama, and another suspect were detained at the CCD. During questioning, the suspect said that the two phones were thrown in a garbage dump near a hotel on Shramadana Mawatha on the road leading to Kadawatha Expressway and set it on fire. 

A senior police officer said that a special police team found the two half-burnt phones during a search operation.

He said that since only a small part of the mobile phones were burnt, the phones could be used for further investigations.

Under the direct supervision of the Senior Inspector General of Police in charge of Western Province Deshbandu Tennakoon and under the instructions of CCD Director ASP Neville De Silva and Chief Inspector Anselm De Silva, a team including Unit 1 Inspector S.P.D. G. Nishantha, Inspector Mahesh, Sub Inspector Mahesh, Constables 90311 Sanjeeva, 100332 Wijekoon, 104013 Kumara, 104006 Weerasinghe and 11509 Chaturanga are conducting investigations.

(Lankadeepa)

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Retired Major and Agent Arrested for Recruiting Sri Lankan Mercenaries for Russian Army

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The Human Trafficking, Human Smuggling and Maritime Crime Investigation Division (CID) arrested a retired major and an employment agent, identified as leaders of an organized scheme that recruited retired military personnel as mercenaries for the Russian army.

These two suspects were remanded till May 2 upon being produced before Negombo Magistate’s Court yesterday evening.

Investigations have revealed that the agency was promoted by young women, including popular actresses currently featured in well-known television dramas.

It is alleged that they deceived these individuals, promising them employment in Europe with work visas, ultimately defrauding them of significant sums of money.

The arrests occurred at the residences of the suspects in Wariyapola and Digana, respectively.

The arrested Major, previously a member of the Army Special Forces, is identified as Wijebandara and the agent is named Bandula.

According to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), these arrests are part of a broader operation, with additional suspects expected to be detained.

The CID has also uncovered that Chathuranga, who operated a large-scale agency on Katugastota Road in Kandy, is a key figure in this racket. He has reportedly fled to Russia and is currently in hiding.

Further revelations indicate that the recruited ex-military personnel were sent to Russia under the guise of performing maintenance work at military camps, but were instead employed as frontline mercenaries. A retired corporal, who managed to escape from the Russian mercenary force, disclosed that around 500 Sri Lankans are engaged in military activities within the Russian forces. This information led to the arrests of Wijebandara and Bandula.

The investigation has also highlighted that many of those recruited into the Russian mercenary forces from Sri Lanka, particularly from commando and special forces backgrounds, were ostensibly hired for non-combatant roles but were ultimately used in active military operations. According to the escaped corporal, those attempting to flee were either shot or captured and imprisoned.

This same corporal disclosed that his deployment was orchestrated by the retired Major from Wariyapola and that the logistics for his travel to Russia was arranged by Bandula and Chathuranga. The group of 37, including the corporal, departed for Russia from Katunayake International Airport on February 24. They have all retired from military service. The return of the corporal to Sri Lanka on March 1 was facilitated by the Red Cross and the Russian Embassy. He also revealed that two of his companions, who fled with him, have been captured by Russian forces and are currently detained in a military facility.

It has been reported that two Sri Lankans were killed in a drone attack by the Russian army in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on March 8 of the previous year, following the deaths of two others in Russia from an attack by Ukraine.

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

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Man arrested over selling overpriced Vadai to tourist

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The Tourist Police in Moragolla has arrested a man over selling an overpriced Vadai and tea to a foreign  tourist in Kalutara.

Footage of the incident had sparked public ire after going viral online.

It has been revealed that the suspect is a 60 year old residing in Kalutara and is usually seen loitering near the eatery.

Police say that investigtations have revealed that he had duped foreigners visiting the eatery many times.

He is to be produced before the Kalutara Magistrate Court tomorrow (April 19).

It is also reported that officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and the Moragolla Tourist police have also arrived at the eatery, and sternly advised the owner after questioning him.

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NPP’s 7-point statement on Easter attacks, presented to the Cardinal

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The National People’s Power (NPP) today (April 18) presented to Archbishop of Colombo – Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, their 7-point statement pledging to mete out justice to the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks.

The statement included key points such as implementing law against those responsible for the attacks so as to mete out justice to those who lost lives in the attacks and family members of the victims and to take action against those who were directly or indirectly involved in the attacks.

NPP members Professor Krishantha Abeysinghe, Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, President’s Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma, Rohan Fernando and Aruna Shantha Nonis participated in the occasion.

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