A DIG’s undoing
by Ishara Ratnakara
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), while conducting investigations into the abduction and murder of businessman, Mohamed Shiyam, has found two pieces of synthetic coir rope, two pieces of hair and a piece of cotton cloth in the pick-up truck belonging to the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD), which have been used for the abduction and killing.
When the officials attached to the Fingerprint Bureau were dusting the vehicle, they had also found two fingerprints and a palm print on the rearview mirror, which was fixed on the back of the windshield.
ASP Shani Abeysekera of the CID submitted the information to the Chief Magistrate’s Court on Thursday in the form of a summary report on the investigations by the CID on the abduction and murder.
The investigation into the disappearance of Mohamed Shiyam was initiated when Mohamed Muflick of 22, Anula Road, Colombo 6, lodged a complaint with the Bambalapitiya Police on 23 May. Bambalapitiya Police commenced the initial investigations, but the case was transferred to the Colombo Crimes Division on a directive purportedly the Inspector General of Police.
Then, a special team appointed by the CID, led by ASP Shani Abeysekera, began a series of investigations and as a result, seven suspects have been arrested to date, in connection with the abduction and murder of the businessman.
Among the suspects are, DIG Vass Gunawardena and four members of his staff, namely, Sub Inspector Indika Bamunusinghe, Police Constables, Gamini Sarathchandra (51799), Priyantha Sanjeewa (68656) and Kelum Rangana Dassanayake (61816).
The DIG was subjected to a lengthy interrogation and was arrested on Monday (10 June).
ASP Abeysekera also informed Court that all the registers that record the activities of the office of the DIG Colombo Western and Northern Ranges had been brought under his custody. He added that none of the registers have any record of activities or duties performed by the personnel attached to DIG Gunawardena’s unit, during the period when the businessman went missing.
Abeysekera, also told Court, the suspects had performed various duties by taking verbal directives from the DIG, but none of those duties had been recorded or documented.
The Court has also been told that extensive investigations will be continued in the light of the strong suspicion that the murder victim was shot and murdered and his body was placed in an isolated location. The CID further submitted some of the statements, which it had recorded from the suspects as well.
The CID also informed Court that a large number of other crimes had been committed by the suspects, according to the statements provided by the two civilian suspects, who are now in custody.
The team of lawyers who appeared for DIG Vass Gunawardena included Madura Welagama, Anuja Perera, Kalpa Perera, Rasika Samaradiwakara and Ajith Pathirana.
Attorney-at-Law Pathirana, presenting the case said: “When we questioned the suspects, we realized that there have been instances where they had not acted according to the law and these facts will be presented to Court with the details at a later date.
“DIG Gunawardena is a police officer who has taken a large number of hardcore criminals into custody. Some of the suspects in the remand prison may be ones whom he has taken into custody. Therefore, remanding the DIG may put his life in danger. According to the statements made by the CID, Gunawardena has suddenly fallen sick. It can also be said that he is suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. Therefore, I appeal that he be provided with residential medical treatment.”
Attorneys-at-Law, Maithri Gunaratne and Nalinda Indratissa, who were watching the interests of the victim, said: “We have no objections to security being provided to the DIG while being in the remand prison. He might even contemplate suicide and that is why we want to issue a note of caution. We hope to provide a detailed submission on the rights of the victim.”
The CID also said it has unearthed details of a large number of crimes, which have been allegedly committed by the suspects who are now in remand prison. The ASP said the investigations are far from over and that they will be probing them in full.
Additional Magistrate, A.M. Sahabdeen, visited the suspect DIG in the Colombo National Hospital and ordered that he be remanded till 25 June.
Colombo Crimes Division OIC M.A.S. Ranjith Munasinghe, Sub Inspector Upali Bandara along with ASP Abeysekera appeared on behalf of the Plaintiff.