( File photo)
Sri Lanka’s police arrested one of their own men for allegedly suppressing evidence in the high profile Thajudeen murder within hours of new Inspector-General Pujith Jayasundara assuming duties on Wednesday.
The former Crime OIC of the Narahenpita police station, Inspector Sumith Champika Perera, was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department, the police said in a statement.
“He was arrested on a charge of suppressing evidence in the Thajudeen murder case,” the statement said.
The police had earlier claimed that the former Sri Lankan Rugby captain Wasim Thajudeen burnt to death in a road accident at Park Road in May 2012.
After the President Maithripala Sirisena came to power in January last year, police reopened the case and a magistrate had Thajudeen’s body exhumed for a fresh autopsy after the initial forensic report appeared to be a cover up.
The couirts have now ruled that Thajudeen did not die in a road accident but in fact had been murdered and that suspects should be arrested.
The then Senior Deputy Inspector-General Anura Senanayake was implicated in a cover up, but investigators said he had closed the case as a road accident with the approval of then IGP N. K. Illangakoon.
Economynext reported in August that an alleged cover-up stretched to the then IGP Illangakoon who retired on April 11. (see stories here: )
The latest arrest of the junior-most officer suggests there could be more arrests of now retired senior officers who were a party to a cover up to protect members of the former ruling family.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s legislator son had denied he was involved in the Thajudeen case.
The sudden police action to revive the Thajudeen case, which had been in limbo pending video analysis of CCTV footage, came after the new IGP’s assurances of speedy action to revive the pending high profile cases.
Detectives uncovered evidence suggesting that a Land Rover defender registered in the name of Sri Lanka Red Cross had been used in the abduction and killing of Thajudeen.
Later, it transpired that the Red Cross had “gifted” the vehicle to former first lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa’s Siriliya charity. She had been questioned by the authorities and investigations are still underway. (Colombo/April 20 2016)
(Original caption: Sri Lanka’s new IGP hits the ground running)