The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court today released 15 elephants taken into custody by the Wildlife Department on a bond of Rs. 10 million each under a temporary license for the Dalada Perehera.
Close to 40 elephants reared without valid licenses were taken into custody by the Wildlife Department over the years. A recent motion filed by several owners, requested that 21 elephants be released to be used in Perehera processions in the future.
However, when the motion was taken up before Colombo Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara today, the Court allowed only 15 to be released for the Dalada Perehera as it was a special cultural event held in the country.
The Court ordered the Director of the Wildlife Department to issue temporary licenses which will only be valid from July 27 to August 15. The Magistrate also allowed the Director to set out the conditions of the licenses.
However, the court did not release elephants belonging to suspects Thilana Gamage, Ajith Gallage and Samarappulige Niraj Roshan as there were cases pending against them in Court. Prosecutors pointed out that investigations had revealed that suspect Samarappulige Niraj Roshan alias Ali Roshan was directly involved in selling elephants and elephant calvesfor over 15 years. (Yoshitha Perera)