BY Buddhika Samaraweera
An official of the Public Security Ministry has been suspended of his duties on suspicion of attempting to secretly unearth a stockpile of gold which is believed to have been buried by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Puthukkudiyiruppu area in Mullaitivu during the war, while an inquiry is to be carried out on a Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry official involved in the same incident, The Morning learnt.
Two members of the personal staff of Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd.) Dr. Sarath Weerasekera and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Douglas Devananda have allegedly tried to recover a stock of gold buried by the LTTE in the Puthukkudiyiruppu area, on 25 November, according to media reports.
When contacted by The Morning, Public Security Ministry Media Secretary Chinthaka Perera said that the official suspected to be involved in the relevant incident has been suspended since investigations are being carried out into the matter. He also said that the Police have been instructed by Dr. Weerasekera to conduct an impartial inquiry into the incident.
Furthermore, speaking to The Morning, Devananda said: “Last (1) morning only I also came to know about this incident, but I don’t think that he (the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry official) was involved in such an incident, because he is not that type of person. He has a fisheries organisation and therefore he travels around the country.”
When queried whether the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry would carry out an inquiry into the matter, he said: “He (the official) is not well these days. However, I am going to carry out an inquiry in a day or two.”
Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has also commenced an inquiry into the incident while a report has been submitted to Dr. Weerasekera and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne regarding the incident by Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) – Northern Province Jagath Palihakkara.
The stock of gold was to be recovered on a court order and on 23 November, the two officials in question had gone to the official quarters of the Puthukkudiyiruppu Police Officer in Charge (OIC), where they have allegedly requested the OIC’s assistance in recovering the gold. However, the Puthukkudiyiruppu Police OIC has not informed his senior police officials until the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in charge of the Mullaitivu Division had inquired from the former about the arrival of the two said ministry officials.
Accordingly, an investigation, headed by the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in charge of Mullaitivu District Number One, to ascertain whether the Puthukkudiyiruppu Police OIC had neglected duties, has commenced.