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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Noose Tightens Around Thajudeen Killers

Wasim Thajudeen

by Nirmala Kannangara.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is due to arrest a former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) who allegedly had a direct hand in closing down the police investigation into the mysterious death of Havelock Sports Club Rugby player and Vice Captain of the Sri Lanka Rugby Team Wasim Thajudeen.

Police sources who wish to remain anonymous said two other police officers who were attached to the Kirulapone and Narahenpita police stations too are to be arrested for aiding and abetting in this regard.

“Though they did not have a direct involvement in the murder, the two police officers acted on the instructions of the then DIG. The DIG is accused of clearing the ‘accident’ site within a few hours which is strictly prohibited, and of altering police records to suggest that the death was due to a fatal accident,” the police sources added.

It is speculated that the two police officers are going to become State witnesses and spill the beans.

“If they are going to confess, why they had to sweep the investigation under the carpet? Who gave them the orders to do so? It will be easier for the CID to nab the culprits who wanted to show that Thajudeen died in a car crash and impede the investigation,” the sources said.

Amongst other possible suspects are two prominent security officers of Mahinda Rajapaksa, and one of them is Captain Tissa, the police sources said.

“There are about 20 identified suspects involved in Thajudeen’s murder. Of them, those who aided and abetted the murders too will be arrested on the directives of the Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris. The arrests will be made based on the incidental and scientific evidences, and all the suspects are now under strict surveillance,” the sources claimed.

When asked about the delay in arresting the suspects because they may leave the country before being arrested, the sources said that none of the suspects can leave the country because the Department of Immigration and Emigration has been duly informed. The sources further said the CID have obtained Captain Tissa’s telephone records to find out who he had spoken with before and after Thajudeen was murdered on May 17, 2012.

Is it  Namal Rajapaksa who is behind the murder?
Is it Namal Rajapaksa who is behind the murder?

It is alleged that this young MP planned the murder since Thajudeen foiled the MP’s attempt to buy the rugby club this rugby player captained, the sources added.

The sources further said this MP and Captain Tissa had discussed the murder over the phone – details of which are now in the possession of the CID. “Unconfirmed reports say these phone conversation details between the MP and Captain Tissa had been retrieved by foreign experts,” the sources claimed.

Meanwhile, the Judicial Services Commission’s (JSC) earlier decision to transfer the Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris as District Judge, Matara came under severe criticism. “When we were informed that the Additional Magistrate was to be transferred, we were puzzled as to who would hear the Thajudeen case and what would happen if the new Magistrate turned out to be a friend of the previous regime. There was an invisible hand behind this attempt, but the JSC cancelled the transfer on December 30, and the entire CID breathed a sigh of relief,” the sources claimed.

After the second post-mortem conducted by Prof. Ajith Tennakoon, irrefutable evidence surfaced that Thajudeen did not die in a car crash accident but he had succumbed to assault injuries.Although it had been claimed earlier that Thajudeen had succumbed to burn injuries that he suffered when his car crashed into a wall near Shalika Grounds in Narahenpita, it became a mystery as to how his wallet was found a few kilometres away from the scene, and how his mobile phone was found in Nuwara Eliya – hundreds of kilometres away from where Thajudeen died.

Meanwhile, Narahenpita police were accused of a deliberate attempt to conceal the facts following their claim that it was an accidental death which was confirmed by the then Colombo Chief Judicial Medical Officer Prof. Ananda Samarasekera in his initial and interim post-mortem reports. However, the Government Analyst’s report states that carbon monoxide had not been found in Thajudeena’s lungs contradicting the first JMO post-mortem report.

“Former DIG Anura Senanayake came under fire for taking a personal interest in classifying the death as an accidental death caused by burn injuries. It was only after the new government came into power that IGP N.K. Illangakoon directed the CID in February to expedite the investigation after the Government Analyst’s report was released two and a half years after the death. There had been so many lapses while conducting the investigation, and they had even failed to obtain CCTV footage from the vicinity immediately after the accident. Unlike at other places, there were many CCTV cameras around the area where the incident took place. The reasons why the investigators failed to obtain this footages is a puzzle. They also deliberately failed to search for his mobile phone and to obtain the call details. They also failed to gather proper evidence from the neighbourhood and from the security guards at Shalika playground. They also should have obtained evidence from the fire brigade officers to find out the reason for the fire,” the police sources said.

According to the sources, glass particles had been found on the reverse side of the deceased’s knee, but it had not been established whether there was a broken bottle in the car.

“It is believed that Prof. Ananda Samarasekera too will have to face the consequence as he could have checked Thajudeen’s injuries and established the way they occurred and checked where the glass particles had come from. It is also surprising as to why these glass particles were not sent to the Government Analyst. Prof. Samarasekera is a medical expert, and it is surprising to see how he was trying to impede the investigation which is against the Hippocratic Oath he has taken,” the sources claimed.

The sources further said law enforcement authorities wanted to bring criminal charges against Dialog Telekom over its alleged failure to cooperate with the investigations.

“Although many requests were made to Dialog Telekom to provide call details taken by certain accused, they did not provide them claiming that they have telephone records only up to three months. When talking about scientific evidence to make a breakthrough, it does not mean that there are only forensic or Judicial Medical Officer’s (JMO) reports. Call details of the victim too are considered as scientific evidence since those details can certainly help make a breakthrough. At one time Dialog Telekom purposely hampered the police investigations when the law of the country could have taken such parties into custody for blocking investigations,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, questions have been raised as to why the former Colombo JMO Prof. Ananda Samarasekera was not called to the scene of the accident, and the body was taken to the mortuary instead to conduct the autopsy.

In an interview to the media, Prof. Samarasekera had stated that he had never been called to the scene of the accident though he could have visited the site easily. He further claims that it was the responsibility of the police to call the JMO to the scene.

According to the sources, Dialog Telekom had later cooperated with the CID and helped make breakthroughs in many criminal cases by giving them mobile call details spanning several years.

“Why did Dialog try to hamper the investigations by not providing the call records to court? We presume that it was because the friendship that those higher officials of Dialog Telekom have with the former first family,” the sources alleged.

Meanwhile, Police Spokesman ASP Ranjith Gunasekera said the suspects are to be arrested before the next hearing date and added that the stage is set to apprehend those who are accused of having a direct hand in the alleged murder and those who aided and abetted in the murder.

“Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris had ordered the CID to arrest and produce not only the suspects who had a direct hand in the murder but also those who ‘helped’ the suspects get away with the murder. The Department of Immigration and Emigration had been notified of these suspects to prevent them from leaving the country. The CID is now closely monitoring these suspects’ movements and there is no way that they can abscond,” the Police Spokesman said.

Sunday Leader


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