Wildlife Minister pledges to expose killers of Dala Poottuwa

The Government has decided to expedite investigations in the hunt for the other killers of the Galgamuwe tusker and is to take tough legal action against the culprits regardless of their political affiliation.

Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera had yesterday ordered IGP Pujith Jayasundara to arrest all those who were involved in the killing of the elephant known as Dala Poottuwa.

When questioned over the attempts of a top politician of the Government who was trying to protect the killers, Minister Perera, refuting the allegations, said no one would escape the law as the Government had instructed the Police and the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) to take action to nab the culprits.

“I will not hide anything and will expose all the names,” the Minister told the Daily FT, stating that he would not spare anyone.

He said that whether the culprit was a politician, religious dignitary or DWLC officer he had to face the law for the crime that he had committed.

Commending the support provided by the Acting IGP and the SP Nikaveratiya Sanjeewa Bandara in apprehending two of the culprits along with the smuggled tusks, he said the Police had arrested a top wildlife officer who was alleged to have had a hand in the killing of the tusker.

“Two people have been arrested so far and the Police will arrest more who have connections with the killing. We have information that they were engaged in the ivory business for a long time,” he said.

However, according to reliable sources, a Buddhist monk in the area was also involved in the ivory smuggling and the Police are conducting investigations.

Minister Perera said that the Government would mete out a severe punishment for those who killed Dala Poottuwa. “We want to teach other smugglers a lesson,” he said.

Meanwhile, following the instructions of the Nikaweratiya Police Division, the Polpitigama Police has arrested two Grama Niladharis who possessed three ivory pendants.

The Police said that it was revealed at the inquiry that the tusks and the ivory gemstones recovered earlier came from Dala Poottuwa.

Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Sagala Ratnayaka, has also instructed the CID to conduct a full investigation into the incident.

According to Police sources, over 10 people have been arrested so far in connection with the killing of the crossed tusker.

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