Jan 31, Colombo: Sri Lanka Army today said an officer and soldiers accused of felling trees in a state forest reserve were detained by a military court after they were released by a civil court.
The group of soldiers led by a Lieutenant was charged of felling trees Bogamuwayaya, Maha Oya Wildlife Reserve for construction purposes.
The Dehiattakandiya Magistrate on Thursday released the officer and 10 soldiers on bail when they were produced in the court.
However, the Military Police, probing into the allegations have taken the officer and the soldiers into open military custody soon after they were released on bail by the civilian court.
The Army said further action have been taken under the directions of the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake to remove the Commanding Officer of the Army unit at Borawewa, Welikanda for failure of his responsibilities.
The Army Commander has also ordered to convene a Court of Inquiry against all those involved in the incident.
Initial inquiries into the incident by the Military Police at Giritale has confirmed that the suspects were engaged in the act for the express purpose of constructing a soldiers' billet and a dining hall inside their camp, although they have not followed Army procedures for collection of such raw materials.
If those Army personnel are found guilty in the Court of Inquiry, to be convened by the Army Directorate of Legal Services, strict disciplinary action will be adopted, in keeping with provisions in the Army Act to be in line with the Commander’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy on Army wrongdoers, the Army said in a statement.
The Dehiattakandiya court released the suspects on Rs 20,000 cash bail and surety bails of Rs 100,000 each. The vehicle has been released on Rs 1 million surety bail. The case will be heard on 4 March 2014.