Court re-issues warrants for arrest of Kurunegala Mayor and four others
August 10, 2020 01:47 pm
The Kurunegala Magistrate has re-issued warrants for the arrest of Kurunegala Mayor Thushara Sanjeewa and four others in the case filed over the demolishing of the Buwaneka Hotel, a building of historical value in Kurunegala.
Due to the failure by the Kurunegala Police to execute the warrants previously issued for their arrests, the magistrate has re-issued the warrants through the Acting IGP, the DIG and SP in charge of Kurunegala.
The court also issued an order preventing the suspects from leaving the country, the Coordinating Officer of AG told Ada Derana.
On the application of the Attorney General, the Kurunegala Magistrate on Friday had issued arrest warrants on the Mayor of Kurunegala Thushara Sanjeewa Vitharana, the Municipal Commissioner of Kurunegala, the Municipal Engineer, foreman and backhoe driver.
The Attorney General had directed the Acting IGP to obtain warrants from court and arrest the five individuals 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.