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* Police investigate threats to members of Public Utility Commission
Mon, Jan 23, 2023, 08:09 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 23, Colombo: The Kollupitiya Police has started an investigation regarding several representatives of trade unions and civil organizations who allegedly threatened the members of the Public Utility Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL).

Vice Chairman of the Public Utility Commission Udeni Wickramasinghe and member Mohan Samaranayake have complained to the police that they and another member were threatened when they went to the Commission premises in Kollupitiya as per the summons of the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission Janaka Rathnayake.

According to an order issued by the Senior DIG of Western Province Deshabandu Tennakoon on Saturday (21) to conduct an investigation into the matter, a police team including the OIC of Kollupitiya Police had visited the residence of Mr. Mohan Samaranayake, a member of the Public Utility Commission, at Sasitapura, Malambe, to record a complaint.

Mr. Mohan Samaranayake has told the police that approval of the Commission on the decision taken by the Cabinet to revise the electricity tariffs from January 01 has been sought and accordingly the Public Utilities Commission met on the 20th on the 17th floor of the Merchant Tower located on Kollupitiya St. Michael Road to discuss the request.

Mr. Samaranayake has also told the police that when he and the vice-chairman of the Commission Mr. Udeni Wickramasinghe were on their way to the Commission office at around 2.30 PM to participate in the discussion, a group of protesters came to the place and displayed posters reading "Mohan, Udeni, Chathurika are betraying the people. Do not betray the country".

He also told the police that when he came back out of the office after the discussion, those people who were staying in the Commission office premises obstructed him, and accusing and humiliating him threatened to harm his life and damage his property.

According to the information received by the police in this regard, it has appeared that the chairman of the Commission, Mr. Janaka Ratnayake, has called the protestors to the Commission premises.

A senior police officer said that this is clear from Mr. Mohan Samaranayake’s statement as outsiders cannot enter the Public Utilities Commission premises.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that this group has entered the Commission premises according to the instructions given to the security officers by the Chairman. The police say that everything has been videotaped there.

The Kollupitiya Police have prepared to get a statement from Mr. Udeni Wickramasinghe, the Vice Chairman of the Commission who was threatened along with Mr. Mohan Samaranayake.

A senior police officer said that this group had come to the Commission premises in an organized manner and that they had behaved like that to influence the members of the Commission by intimidating them.

The Kollupitiya Police have also prepared to get a statement from Mr. Udeni Wickramasinghe, the Vice Chairman of the Commission who was threatened along with Mr. Mohan Samaranayake.

But since he was away from Colombo, the police will probably be able to record his statement today (23). The police said that they inquired from him over the phone.

After recording those statements, the police will report the facts to the court and even obtain the unedited footage related to this incident published in the media. The police are ready to strictly enforce the law against the people who threatened the members of the Public Utility Commission. Even the security guards of the building where the Commission is located will also be questioned the police said.

It was recently reported that while the Chairman of PUCSL Mr. Janaka Rathnayake has vowed not to permit the electricity tariff hike approved by the Cabinet, some Commission members do not agree with the Chairman and are of the view that increase in electricity rates is needed.


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