President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is attending the UN sessions in New York, has called for a full report from Police and Defence officials on the Karadiyanaru explosion which killed 21 people including that of nine civilians.
Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the Sunday Times that the President had directed that Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne, who is also the acting defence minister, and Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya visit the scene while a full probe was being carried out.
The move came as Batticaloa’s Government Agent yesterday denied he had given permission to store a large stock of dynamite in three containers at a place frequently used by the public. “I have nothing do with granting permission for storing the dynamite”, Government Agent A.N. Arumainayagam told the Sunday Times.
The usual practice has been that the government agent issues permits for the use and storage of dynamite in the area under his or her purview.
The dynamite was stored in three containers adjoining the Karadiyanaru police station which was located in part of the Agrarian Centre Building frequented by farmers who call over to collect permits for fertilizer subsidies and other purposes.
The police station too was crowded with people when the explosion occurred.
Senior Superintendent I.M. Karunaratna told the Sunday Times that initial investigations by the Government Analyst had revealed that the explosion had taken place due to careless loading of a stock of dynamite into a vehicle.
He ruled out sabotage or terrorist involvement in the explosion.
Prime Minister Jayaratne accompanied by IGP Balasuriya visited the injured at the Batticaloa hospital yesterday.