Thugs threaten PUCSL members | Daily News

Thugs threaten PUCSL members

Howcome thugs entered building without Chairman’s approval ?
Two members faced threats on 17th Floor and in the Lift

The Kollupitiya Police has began an investigation regarding several trade union and civil organization representatives who allegedly threatened the Vice Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Udeni Wickramasinghe and member Mohan Samaranayake, when they went to the premises of the Commission in Kollupitiya on the invitation of the Chairman of the PUCSL Janaka Ratnayake for a meeting.

According to an order given on Saturday by Western Province Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon to conduct an investigation into the matter, a police team including the OIC of Kollupitiya Police Station had taken steps to visit the residence of Samaranayake in Malabe to get down his complaint.

Samaranayake had told the Police that the approval of the PUCSL was sought by the Cabinet following a decision taken by the Cabinet for the revision of electricity tariffs from January 01. A meeting of the commission had been called to discuss the matter on the last 20th at the PUCSL office in the 17 floor of the merchant tower in Kollupitiya.

Samaranayake had said that when he went to PUCSL officer premises with Udeni Wickramasinghe around 2.30 pm a group had been protesting at the premises shouting slogans and holding placards against three members of the committee, including himself, Udeni Wickramasinghe and Chathurika Wijesinghe.

He had said the slogans of the protesters included such as “Mohan, Udeni and Chathurika should not betray the country”, “you have betrayed the people” etc.

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’s office premises obstructed him and threatened to harm him and damage his property and also used insulting words.

In this regard, according to the information received by the Police so far, it has appeared that it was Janaka Ratnayake, the Chairman of the Commission, who asked these protesters to come to the place.

A senior police officer said that this appears to be the case when considering Mohan Samaranayake’s statement.

The Police say that outsiders cannot enter the premises of the Public Utilities Commission. According to the instructions given by the Chairman to the security officers, it has been found in the police investigation that this group has entered the commission premises without obstruction. The Police say that everything has been videotaped there. A senior Police officer said that this organized group had come to the Commission’s premises and that they had behaved in this way to influence the members of the Commission by intimidating them.

The Kollupitiya Police had planned to get a statement from the Vice Chairman of the Commission, Udeni Wickramamasinghe as well but was unable to do so as he was out of Colombo. The police said that they inquired from him over the phone.

After recording those statements, the Police are ready to strictly apply the law to the people who threatened the members of the commission and report the facts to the court while also presenting the unedited footage of the incident published in the media. For that, even the members of the security of the building where the Commission is located are going to be interrogated.

Meanwhile when queried Samaranayake said after the cabinet decision on electricity tariff, Ratnayake had called a meeting of the commission on the 12th of last month. The Chairman had given a document to other members of the matter and had asked them to decide at the meeting itself.

It was regarding two main points which was the request to go for an interim increase in tariff until a decision is made to increase tariff and also approve the tariff hike formula from January 01, 2023.

The other three members of the Commission had requested the Chairman to prepare a letter and shot it to the members before sending it to Cabinet. However, the letter had been sent to the Cabinet by order of the Commission tag without showing it to other members with the signature of the Chairman.

Under the Act Chairman does not hold any special powers over others and he only wields power to act as the leader of the Commission as he is the Chairman.

Meanwhile, the President had called the three members for a meeting recently in which the chairman of the PUCSL had not attended and had explained to them the situation the country is facing now and had requested them to take a decision after giving due consideration to it.

The members also had been summoned by the National Council of Parliament and had sought their stance.

On the 20th meeting Samaranayake said that the PUCSL Chairman had requested other members to be present for a meeting and he and the Deputy Chairman had gone for it when the protest took place. He said the other member Chathurika Wijesinghe was out of Colombo and had participated through zoom technology. However, at the meeting the Chairman had said it was not a Commission meeting but a special meeting. The protesters meanwhile had also been near the entrance of the lift when he and the Deputy Chairman came out after the meeting where they threatened and used insulting words, Samaranayake said.

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