- Vas Gunawardena’s son joined cop death squad to allegedly kill businessman-
Tamils ‘faced extortion’ by DIG to avoid terrorism charges
Hours before businessman Mohamed Shiyam, 35 was murdered he was taken to the residence of Deputy Inspector General of Police (Western Province-North) Vass Gunawardena in Dehiwala, investigations into the abduction and murder of the businessman have revealed.
More evidence into the crime was revealed this week as DIG Gunawardena was remanded until June 25. DIG Gunawardena had also telephoned Tamil businessmen and allegedly extorted money from them, claiming they were involved in terrorist activities, the courts were told.
DIG Vass Gunawardena
Hard on the heels of the revelations in courts the Tamil business community has decided to lodge a complaint with the Inspector General of Police about cases of extortion while DIG Gunawardena was serving in the Colombo Crime Division.
The DIG was arrested on a Detention Order under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. He was later produced before a magistrate after detectives were told that his health had taken a bad turn. The magistrate ordered that he be admitted to the prison hospital. He is kept there under guard.
At least two of the suspects taken into custody have confirmed that Shiyam, who was abducted in Kandewatta, Nugegoda had been first driven to the Biyagama area and thereafter taken to the residence of DIG Gunawardena before being murdered and his body dumped in a lonely location in Dompe.
Details of the plot make disturbing reading. Shiyam had been taken by one of his close friends, Fowzudeen Muflig, to Kandewatte, enabling the abduction and eventual murder.During investigations, Muflig claimed that Shiyam had borrowed money from him and failed to return it. Muflig said he had given this information to a friend, Krishantha Vishvaraj Korale, a resident of Pitakotte.
Muflig claimed that he had been referred to DIG Gunawardena for assistance and had held meetings with him in the police chief’s residence.
Victim Mohamed Shiyam
During the meetings, he had been introduced to Sub Inspector Indika Bamunusinghe and PCs Gamini Sanath Chandra, Kelum Rangana Dissanayake and Priyantha Sanjeewa Pradeep who were serving under DIG Gunawardena. He told investigators that he paid Rs. 500,000 to the DIG.
Two attempts had been made by the police officers serving under the DIG to abduct Shiyam but both had failed. Then Muflig had taken a hand, luring Shiyam to his doom. Shiyam had gone with him to Kandewatte on May 22 where his abduction – by the four policemen serving under DIG Dissanayake – had taken place.
It was Muflig who made a complaint to the Bambalapitiya police about the Shiyam’s disappearance. Korale – who helped Muflig to make contact with DIG Gunawardena and is also in custody – claimed that he had met the DIG at his residence on several occasions to plan the recovery of the money due to Muflig.
Korale had picked up SI Bamunusinghe and PC Kelum from the DIG’s home on May 22 and arrived at Kandewatte for the abduction.
He claimed that while they had been driving towards Biyagama with Shiyam in their vehicle he had received a call from DIG Gunawardena and returned to the police chief’s house in Dehiwala.
They had picked up DIG Gunawardena’s son Ravindu and another PC armed with a T-56 automatic weapon and a pistol.
They had travelled in a van followed by the double-cab in which Shiyam was being taken. PC Kelum, who was in the cab with Shiyam, had indicated to the van that that he wished to stop at a location in Malabe.
There, Shiyam was transferred to the van in which Ravindu, SI Bamunusinghe and PCs Sanath and Sanjeewa were travelling.
Korale and the driver had been told to return home in the double-cab. They were told to collect the van on the following day from DIG Gunawardena’s house.
Korale said that on the way back he had received a call saying a decision had been taken to murder Shiyam. He claimed he had been surprised by the move. He has told investigators that when he had gone to collect the van from the DIG’s house the following day, he had asked the police chief why the group had decided to kill Shiyam.
The CID has recorded statements from dozens of people including the double-cab driver, Anuradha Edirisinha; Korale’s son, Dinuka Senara; Korale’s brother, Sanath Suranjith, and a businessman, Sarath Edirisinha. While being questioned by police DIG Gunawardena had raised his voice and told his interrogator: “I knew you will do this to me. But you can’t keep me in for long.
“Shani (Abeysekara), I am a murderer. The day I come out, you will see what I will do to you.” ASP Shani Abeysekara, who is involved in the investigations, on Wednesday submitted a report to Colombo Additional Magistrate Mohamed Shabdeen. The court was told that both vehicles used for the abduction had been recovered.Muflig had claimed that Shiyam had owed him more than Rs. 40 million and that he was was trying to recover the money owed to him.
The OIC of the CID’s Special Investigations Unit, A.M.S.Ranjith Munasinghe, SI Upali Bandara and ASP Abeysekara appeared for the prosecution.