Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage ordered the Special Investigation Division yesterday (24) to name the former Zoo Director General as a suspect and produced in the court in relation to a case related to tamed elephants. In this case, three elephants named Kandula, Kanchana and Mangala, confiscated by a court order were handed over to a person convicted and sentenced in another elephant case. This handover took place on the orders of former President Maithripala Sirisena.
Reporting the facts about the investigation, SSP Wickramasinghe informed the court that the two suspects have dealt with the incident in an illegal manner.
Wickramasinghe gave a lengthy explanation and informed court that these three elephants should be legally handed over to the heirs of the Amarapura Sect, Ven. Davuldena Gnanissara Thera and the Polwatta temple in Kollupitiya.
Wickramasinghe said that investigations have revealed that Anura Silva, the former Director General of the Zoo and H.D.Ratnayake, the Director General of Wildlife, have committed a mistake. Wickramasinghe further said that on the orders of the former President Maithripala Sirisena, these three elephants have been handed over to the son of Mahinda Galappatti, who pleaded guilty in an elephant case and was sentenced to suspended prison terms and fines.
The Wildlife Director General instructed the Zoo’s Director General to release the three elephants to that person.
SSP Wickramasinghe also informed court that it is not legal to release an elephant to a convict in an elephant case despite receiving instructions from a superior. The Magistrate also asked if that was the law of the Wildlife Department.
Wickramasinghe said that there is enough evidence to name them as suspects.The Magistrate ordered him to name them as suspects and produce them in court.