Milk powder shortage to last till end of the month – The Island

… even after revelation of change in LPG composition

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) says that even after the top Litro management has been caught lying as regards the main cause of the LPG gas-related explosions, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has not conducted a probe.

Top SJB spokesperson Mujibur Rahman yesterday (6) alleged that the CID hadn’t at least recorded the statements of the top Litro management as regards a complaint he lodged with the CID on 03 Dec., with regard to gas-related incidents.

He said so at a media briefing at the Opposition Leader’s Office after having met a senior law enforcement officer attached to the CID. The former UNPer said that on behalf of the SJB he sought a clarification from the CID as to why no action had been taken against the top Litro management.

“Actually, we believed the report submitted by an expert committee appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would prompt a swift response from the government. Instead, that report has been shelved. Otherwise, how can one explain the CID’s failure at least to record the statements from senior Litro management,” the MP asked.

He said that Litro Chairman and CEO Theshara Jayasinghe had on 20 Dec., declared at a media briefing arranged by the President’s Media Division (PMD) that the Propane and Bhutane composition hadn’t been changed whereas on the following day the President’s committee asserted the primary reason for countrywide blasts was nothing but the change of the gas content formula.

Chaired by Prof Shantha Walpolage of the University of Moratuwa, the committee comprised Senior Deputy Inspector General (SDIG) Deshabandu Tennakoon, Prof Ajith de Alwis of the University of Moratuwa, Prof W.D.W. Jayathilaka of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Prof Pradeep Jayaweera, Prof Narayan Sirimuthu, Commissioner of the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission, Dr Sudarshana Somasiri, Additional Director General of Technical Services and Sujeewa Mahagama, Senior Deputy Director of the Sri Lanka Standards institute.

MP Rahman asked whether the government higher-ups had directed the CID not to inquire into the conduct of Litro management. Responding to another query, the MP said that the CID never bothered to record his statement though he lodged a complaint over a month ago.

The MP pointed out that the gas-related blasts erupted a couple of months back after the change of the top Litro management. The government brought in Viyathmaga activist Theshara Jayasinghe in place of Anil Koswatte. Recalling how Jayasinghe lambasted his predecessor at a hastily arranged media briefing at the Litro main office, MP Rahman asked whether the Treasury initiated a probe as requested by disgraced Koswatte.

MP Rahman emphasized the responsibility on the part of Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (retd.)Sarath Weerasekera to inquire into the CID’s conduct. The CID couldn’t ignore the fact that attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku has successfully moved the Court of Appeal against the two gas suppliers, Litro and Laugfs. In addition to the court action, several other organizations have lodged complaints in this regard with the CID though the country’s premier investigation unit remained inactive.

The SJB official said that it would be raised in Parliament later this month. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the advice of the SLPP prorogued the Parliament at the conclusion of the budget debate as the government was under tremendous pressure over a spate of issues. The MP pointed out that though the CID launched a high profile inquiry into allegations in respect of liquid fertilizer imports from India following explosive revelations in Parliament about Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundera’s intervention in that mater, no one knew the outcome. The police even recorded a statement from Mahinda Illeperuma, the editor of ‘Aruna.’ There was another inquiry about an aide to the Public Security Minister and another aide of Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda hunting for LTTE gold, MP Rahman said.

The government and the police owe an explanation, the MP said, adding that similarly the public would like to know what the government did with a retired judge’s report on State Minister Lohan Ratwatte’s raids on Welikada and Anuradhapura prisons. MP Rahman asked whether the CID at least recorded the Sate Minister’s statement in spite of a directive given by Minister Weerasekera to inquire into the incidents. However, that case had now ended up in the Supreme Court, the MP said.

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