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 Post subject: Arambawelage Don Upali Ranjith alias Soththi Upali
 Post Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 3:10 am 
Arambawelage Don Upali Ranjith alias Soththi Upali

Posted on 16Feb2006

Arambawelage Don Upali Ranjith alias Soththi Upali was the godfather of a notorious mafia gang in Sri Lankan in late eighties and early nineties.

Like many others Upali served politicians of both major political parties. Soththi Upali was a close associate of the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa and once powerful UNP minister Mr. Sirisena Cooray. Soththi Upali’s friendship with Chandrika Kumaratunga and her late husband Vijaya go way beyond his association with Sirisena Cooray or Ranasinghe Premadasa. However, it is ironical once UNP strongman Sirisena Cooray was arrested on allegations of conspiring with Soththi Upali to kill President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Soththi Upali was shot dead on Thursday the seventeenth of 1998 at Bokundara, near Piliyandala. He was returning home from the magistrate courts in Colombo, where he has being charged in connection with the assassination of Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali. Later, the commission appointed to go into the assassination of Mr. Athulathmudali found many people including the late Mr. R. Premadasa was connected directly or indirectly with the murder.

It is believed that two vehicles have followed the bus in which Upali was traveling from Colombo to Piliyandala. As soon as he got down at Bokundara, he was shot and then dragged into one of the vehicles and taken to a place about 4 km from Bokundara, shot again and dropped. It is also believed that it is the work of a rival gang. According to the police, Soththi Upali was allegedly killed by a person named Nalin Dammika who is in the wanted list.

Police officers carrying out investigations into the killing said they were finding it difficult to proceed with the inquiry as two of the key suspects were being given cover by two prominent People's Alliance politicians. They said therefore, it could be politically motivated. "Who could carry guns in broad daylight if they do not have political patronage," an investigating officer asked. Some of the police officers told that the suspect had taken refuge at the house of a politician from the PA government.

Earlier, Soththi Upali was accused by the PA government of being used by the United National Party (UNP) to help the party in the campaign in the northwestern province. Upali has been at one time a supporter of both Mr. Vijaya Kumaratunga and Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, and known to them personally.

It was revealed that, during the good old days of The UNP government of president Premadas, police inspectors had to salute Sothi Upali and his criminal gang since they were closely associated with powerful politicians. An OIC of a Colombo police station had been so servile to him that the officer, out of respect for the criminal, had chosen to call him ‘Sir.’

One of Soththi Upali's accomplices shot dead

Amarasinghe Arachchige Amarasinghe alias Gawara who was shot dead in front of his residence in Horana around 1.00 p.m. on Tuesday May 22, 2001 is suspected to be one of Soththi Upali's accomplices.

According to information from the Horana police, he is suspected of being a member of the underworld gang, which specialised in contract killing.
The Horana police believes Gawara's death was in retaliation to a suspected contract killing he had carried out and over which a court case is pending. A number of other murder charges have also been filed against the deceased. The Horana police say they have reason to suspect that Gawara's death was itself a contract killing.

According to Gawara's wife Somalatha, who was the only eye-witness, two persons she identifies as the children of one of Gawara's alleged victims, had arrived with guns when Gawara was leaving to work in his tractor and shot him in the head. The tractor had overturned and fallen on the deceased.

Amarasignhe was a permanent employee of Perth Estate, Horana as a security guard for the past twenty years. Somalatha was threatened by the two gunmen who had told her not to interfere in the matter.

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