Arrest warrants issued for Kurunegala Mayor and 4 others

Arrest warrants issued for Kurunegala Mayor and 4 others

August 7, 2020   04:35 pm

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The Kurunegala Magistrate has issued arrest warrants on the Mayor of Kurunegala Thushara Sanjeewa Vitharana and four others in the case filed over the demolishing of the Buwaneka Hotel, a building of historical value in Kurunegala.

The magistrate had issued the arrest warrants on the application of the Attorney General, according to the AG’s Coordinating Officer. 

The Attorney General on Thursday directed the Acting IGP to obtain warrants from court and arrest five individuals including the Mayor of Kurunegala Thushara Sanjeewa, the Municipal Commissioner of Kurunegala, the Engineer and two others.

The AG has ordered their arrests on charges under the Antiquities Ordinance and Public Property Act and also directed the Acting IGP to produce them before court without delay.

The building in question, also known as the Buwaneka Hotel, dates back to the 13th century and is presumed to be the assembly hall used by the contemporary rulers.

On July 16th, the Mayor of Kurunegala had demolished the said building for a road development project. He had stated that the Road Development Authority (RDA) had given its approval for the demolition.

The Department of Archaeology then filed a complaint claiming that the building demolished by the Kurunegala Mayor is a 13th-century King’s Court.

This archaeological site has been listed under the provisions of the Antiquities Ordinance No. 9 of 1940.

A five-member committee was then formed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs, under the directives of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to look into the incident.

In the meantime, Attorney General Dappula de Livera, on July 23, obtained an order from the Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court to protect and prevent the access to the demolished historic building site pending investigations.

The prevention order was issued against the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Kurunegala, Municipal Councillors, Municipal Commissioner, and Engineer Municipal Council staff and their representatives.

On July 28, the Kurunegala Magistrate ordered the Mayor of Kurunegala to hand over all documents pertaining to the demolished building to the safe custody of the court.

Further, the Kurunegala Magistrate has called for all the documents and minutes of the City Development Committee from the Governor of the North-western Province.

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