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 Post subject: Six police officers arrested
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 1:36 am 
Drug trafficking: Six police officers arrested

By Kurulu Kariyakarawana
@ DM /Thursday, December 29, 2005


After months-long major drug clean up operation, police special units yesterday arrested six policemen between the ranks of Inspector and constable who had allegedly maintained links with most wanted drug kingpins in the city.

The suspects who were in service at the time of their arrest include three Inspectors (one of whom was under interdiction), one Sub Inspector and two constables.

Colombo division DIG Pujitha Jayasundara told the Daily Mirror that the suspects were arrested on clear evidence of having been associated with drug dealers and of having assisted in the illicit business in various ways.

A former Inspector who had been interdicted on bribery charges was arrested following information provided by a Muslim woman identified as Sulfika who was taken into custody for a number of drug related cases.

According to well informed sources the interdicted officer, his wife also a woman Inspector with the help of certain senior officers of the police department had reportedly associated with the women in drug peddling activities.

Police Chief Chandra Fernando has ordered that the arrested police officers be immediately interdicted and to be produced in courts today.

DIG Jaysundera said more policemen were due to be arrested soon in connection with the drugs operation.


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 Post subject: Police vehicles used to transport heroin
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 1:40 am 
Officer admits using police vehicles to transport heroin
Drug dealing cops caught in 'Operation Clean up' net

by Hemantha Randunu
@ The island / Friday, December 30, 2005



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@ Photo Daily Mirror

The Colombo Crime Division has arrested seven police officers, including an interdicted high level officer, on charges of aiding and abetting drug kingpins, police headquarters sources said on Wednesday.

They were arrested from the Dematagoda and Borella police stations. Among the suspects was an officer who had been in charge of the Vice Branch in Borella. He had been interdicted on charges of bribery. The suspect had led the drug distributing cartel in Borella area, police sources said.

Information on the policemen affiliated to drug rings was revealed by drug kingpins taken in during the 'Operation Clean Up' over the past few weeks. Some officers had earned millions from the drug dealers in Rajagiriya and Borella areas. They had allowed the dealers to continue with their businesses and in return had been paid large sums of money for official protection the, sources said.

Some suspect officers had purchased several luxury houses in Colombo and its suburbs, investigators said.

One of the suspect officers had divulged that he was assisted by a former IGP in his associations with drug kingpins. He had used official police vehicles to transport heroin to retail dealers in his area, investigators said.


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 Post subject: Framed!
 Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:01 am 
Framed!
Travesty of justice for men who did the country proud

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
@ Sunday Leader / 23APR2006


What could one say if the temple of justice is desecrated and sullied by the ugly hands of powerful elements that subvert the law thereby perpetuating crimes in a society that is fast losing its values?

A case in point is the arrest of six police personnel who have done their country proud with impressive police track records who were made to languish at the Welikada Prison for three months on an unsubstantiated statement made by a notorious female drug dealer.

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The sordid saga came to an end on March 27 when they were released with no charges pressed against them. But their lives have altered permanently.

The six police personnel arrested on the basis of a statement made by a notorious drug dealer are IP Saudan Hennadige Douglas Nimal, IP Siddhihala Wickramage Anura, SI Manikmannage Samantha Pushpakumara, constables Hewa Bambarendage Sunil Kithsiri, Eriya Hewawalage Mervyn Duncan Fernando and Ranmuni Leslie Shriyaratne de Soysa.

Two of them, IP Douglas Nimal and SI Samantha Pushpakumara, are officers decorated for their exemplary track record in crime busting, particularly the nabbing of drug peddlers, hooch sellers and the like.

Seeking justice

Following their release, they have appealed to President Mahinda Rajapakse seeking justice and lodged formal complaints with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) of Sri Lanka requesting reinstatement, cancellation of their transfers and compensation for the loss of reputation, employment and pain of mind caused due to being arrested.

The tragic tale of intrigue, influence and corruption dates back to December 2005.

On December 16, 2005, the Bambalapitya vice branch arrested a woman drug dealer named Sadikin Samaz Zulfikar (35) of 78/35, Gothami Road, Borella along with two other drug dealers, named Ajith Pushpakumara (39) and Weerakoon Mudiyanselage Deepal Wasantha (29).

The two men later confessed to being drug dealers who purchased drugs from Zulfikar on a regular basis. They also admitted to being addicted to heroin. At the time of arrest, they were in possession of several grammes of heroin. All three were produced before the Maligakanda magistrate the same day.

In her first statement to the police, Zulfikar stated she was a poor woman without any means, divorced but charged with the responsibility of supporting her sister. She told police that she assisted a drug dealer named Kosala and that it was he who ran the show. She told police she could provide information about Kosala who was the "real dealer" and to let her go.

The woman suspect, according to police records, made a second statement which differed from the first and was then handed over to the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) for inquiry. The suspect at this point varied her statement and mentioned names of police personnel who she claimed to be linked to Colombo’s drug Mafia who allegedly assisted her to continue her illegal trade.

It was this statement and this alone that led to the arrest of the six police personnel.

"We cannot believe that we were arrested on a mere statement of a infamous drug dealer," said former IP Douglas Nimal whose impressive record of heroin nabbing in the city should put many a senior police officer to shame.

Track record

IP Douglas Nimal from October 2004 to January 2005 alone had instituted 102 cases against drug traffickers. He has also issued five day warrants and 22 open warrants against suspects. Similarly, former OIC, Vice Branch, Borella, SI Samantha Pushpakumara is the police officer who had instituted the highest number of cases against suspects in the Colombo District, which is 404.

On December 27, 2005, SSP Sarath Lugoda sent a fax message requiring the said six police personnel to record statements. When they appeared at the CCD the following day, December 28, 2005, they were arrested while in uniform.

According to the police personnel, when they queried what the charges against them were, the arrest was carried out by one IP Iddamalgoda sans explanation. Thereafter, they were produced before the Maligakanda magistrate and remanded.

According to them, a nightmare followed. Charged under Section 54(1) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, they were remanded on December 29,2005 for a period of 14 days. The recorded reason for this was that investigations have not concluded.

During this period, they were not allowed to speak to their lawyers or families, they claim. A B report was subsequently submitted to the magistrate by January 12,2006.

Under Section 54 (a) of the said act, it is important to note that a magistrate is not able to grant bail for a drug related offence and the law requires the matter to be referred to the High Court only at which point bail could be obtained by a suspect. Also, the offence is serious enough and if convicted would carry death sentence.

Interestingly enough, the evidence extract produced before court did not make any reference to the said police officers.

The matter was next referred to the Attorney General, as there was no evidence to commit the six police personnel for a High Court trial. It was the opinion of the Maligakanda magistrate that the AG should state under which section of the law that action could be instituted against them.

According to IP Douglas Nimal, next began an attempt to unearth some dirt on the arrested personnel. The police thoroughly checked the mobile telephones and the most recent bills to ascertain whether they had any contact with any of the Colombo’s drug mafia or those connected to it.

The attempt failed with no evidence being unearthed to implicate that the policemen had any links to the drug peddlers in Colombo. However, DIG Colombo, Pujitha Jayasundera instructed that their statements be recorded once more for breach of discipline.

Freedom

They were further remanded until the decisive day — March 27. The Attorney General issued instructions for their release on March 24 stating that they should be released forthwith and that there was no premise to take further legal action against them. Finally, they tasted freedom on March 27.

The sad fact is that these are among the few policemen who have diligently carried out their duties, a fact that is supported by their impressive career records.

IP Douglas Nimal is an officer who had served in the war torn areas for nine years, and made the highest number of arrests of drug peddlers, hooch sellers and others who have committed petty crimes. It is he who busted Sri Lanka’s biggest moonshine joint, which operated behind the Kolonnawa Oil Refinery. It is he who made the most significant heroin detection in the island, hauling 500 grammes of heroin in one detection.

Similarly, IP Pushpakumara is the officer who instituted the highest number of cases last year against petty crimes in the entire Colombo District, which is an impressive 404.

According to both officers, they have never spoken to the female suspect, Zulfikar who had implicated them in her uncorroborated statement, made for the second time making a clear departure from her first statement. Further, they claim that every time they received information of drug related offences or other vices, they have recorded the telephone numbers used for communication in the police records as required.

"It is pure victimisation. We have never had links with the underworld or any drug ring. We never socialised with offenders but have found our colleagues and seniors hand in glove with the criminals," they both claim.

Well-connected

However, it is now an established fact that Zulfikar had major connections to the police, without whose support she would not have managed to peddle drugs for so long without being nabbed. But her connection was certainly not to those mentioned in her fanciful statement made to the police the second time round.

According to police inside sources, when arresting the woman, her mobile telephone was also taken into police custody. It is reliably learned that among the final calls she had made were the telephone numbers belonging to two senior police officers from the Borella police. But in a strange twist of justice, the said officers were neither arrested nor their statements recorded.

Following the arrest of the six police personnel, a massive media attack followed, further damaging their reputation. The victims believe that a powerful section of the police was behind the orchestrated campaign to further tarnish their image, despite the legal opinion being that they should not stand trial as there was no evidence.

Framed

There are some factors that establish the motive to possibly frame the officers and victimise them.

On October 22,2005, IP Douglas Nimal, managed to round up a group of underworld figures in the Ganemulla area. When his police team arrived there, to their shock and dismay a sub inspector and another policeman in civilian clothing were with the notorious gang consuming liquor.

According to the records maintained, the police team had wished to carry out the arrest of an underworld figure named Johnny Patrick alias Junda who was present and wanted in connection with an attempted murder.

IP Douglas Nimal claims that Junda who had important links to the police immediately called a top ranking police officer in Colombo who instructed the IP to withdraw forthwith as the said person he was looking for was already under arrest.

Given the fact that the instructions originated from a senior and responsible police officer charged with crime busting in Colombo, the team withdrew but recorded the incident in the police records.

It later transpired that Junda had not been arrested as falsely claimed by the senior police officer. At this point the enraged police team wrote to the Inspector General of Police, Chandra Fernando about the incident. The only action that followed was the recording of their statements.

Terrible memories

On August 25,2005, IP Douglas Nimal carried out the arrest of a woman who at the time of being nabbed was in possession of a small quantity of heroin. The woman had powerful links to the police hierarchy through her son-in-law named Richard, who serves as peon to DIG Colombo, Pujitha Jayasundera.

IP Douglas Nimal claims that it is these incidents that largely went against him and earned him a reputation as a troublemaker.

"I was never a cog in the drug wheel in Colombo. In fact, we are policemen who have done our best to curb the ring of vice in the city. For the long and honest services rendered, this is what the police service has to offer us," says IP Douglas Nimal.

They have terrible memories of their 90-day period of arrest spent among the mentally deranged at the Mahara Prison. There they were denied access to justice, and not allowed to seek the opinion of the Attorney General, who in their opinion would have indicated to the Police Department they were arrested on a trumpeted charge.

" It was period of absolute shame and heartache. We felt like common criminals. What hurt us the most was that we sometimes met those arrested by us for drug dealing and other crimes. We often felt equated with Colombo’s drug addicts and dealers and knew finally how ineffective the law was and how it sided with the powerful elements in society who wanted us arrested because we were threatening their sources of income, their goondas and their very existence," adds the angry ex-police officer.

Appeal to President

Happy to find their freedom, though denied their employment, dignity and self-respect, the police personnel have appealed to President Mahinda Rajapakse to intervene and mete out the justice previously denied to them.

Though cleared, they remain interdicted at present. They claim that they were framed with malicious intent by the law enforcement authorities who are charged with the duty of nabbing offenders, and not the aiding and abetting of crime through various omissions and commissions.

The police personnel have also complained to the HRC citing IGP Chandra Fernando, DIG Colombo, Pujitha Jayasundera, DIG, CCD, Sarath Lugoda and others.

But the real tragedy is this. If this were the way that the Police Department treats officers who have done their best to bust crime in Colombo which is fast becoming a sin city, what better incentive could be there for the underworld and the drug rings? And how to motivate the police to do their job right when, as always, the top is seriously crooked?


RELATED LINKS:
:arrow: Inspector of Police & his wife shot dead


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 Post subject: Save the country from the police
 Post Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:15 pm 
Save the country from the police

@ WS / 29APR2006

The impunity and ease with which the attempt on the life of Army Commander Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka was made inside the Army Headquarters complex on Tuesday has once again starkly revealed the lack of intelligence about LTTE operations even in Colombo, despite so many years of fighting the ruthless enemy.

Many law abiding officers even in the Police Department have come to the conclusion that this is all to do with the Department being riddled with a mafia type clique from its top to bottom and this corrupt lot will do anything for money. The victim of this entire situation is the poor country and its people, for no one in their proper senses will give any information to the police.

The situation is such that even Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva last week publicly cursed the corrupt policemen and other such officers stating that he had no faith in them and they would die after prolonged agony.

Addressing the Court Registrars Annual General Meeting in Colombo the Chief Justice declared:” The police ask whether I want their protection but I say no. I have to be protected from them. That is why I don’t get their security. I know them very well as I have been in my profession for 38 years.”

Now the rot that has set in is such, many honest officers who had suffered silently for many years, having often been pushed aside for not kowtowing to the corrupt clique are now speaking out at least privately in total disgust of the situation.

This week one such outstanding officer Inspector Saudan Hennadige Douglas Nimal who was on interdiction on an apparent trumped up charge with six other police officers was gunned down along with his wife at Pore Junction in the Athurugiriya police area in gang land style, the same day the terrorist suicide bomber struck at Army Headquarters.

Though the latter incident overshadowed the former, it has a greater significance to the future of law enforcement in the country as it was a definite warning to all honest and duty conscious officers in the police department. According to colleagues in the Department IP Douglas Nimal had been threatening to blow the whistle on so many sordid goings on in the force, including extra-judicial killings by the members of the police mafia, even on contract basis.

It is reliably learnt that IP Douglas had even made an affidavit about some of the illegal activities of the clique that he was aware of. It is, however not clear, in whose possession this document and any other relevant material evidence that he might have had had fallen into. He was known to have two brothers in the force as well.

Most interestingly the Inspector and his wife were gunned down in broad daylight as they were coming to Colombo to meet IGP Chandra Fernando. The question being asked is whether the killers were put on his trail by the very mafia operating from the Police Headquarters, against whom he had been openly speaking out.

IP Douglas, IP S. W. Anura, Sub Inspector M.S. Pushpakumara, Constables Hewa Bambarendage Sunil Kithsiri, Eriya Hewalage Mervyn Duncan Fernando and Ranmuni Leslie Sriyantha de Zoysa were arrested and remanded by the Colombo Crimes Division on December 27, 2005, according to the late IP’s own words “ on a mere statement of a notorious woman drug dealer.”

They were finally freed on March 27 this year by Maligakanda Magistrate Priyantha de Silva after the Attorney General sought their immediate release as there was no evidence to proceed with the case. But to this date their interdiction stand.

The million dollar question is why they were not reinstated to this day despite the court decision. On the other hand officers allege that the present IGP has not punished a single officer out of many found guilty of misdeeds during official inquiries.

So is the IGP beholden to a corrupt clique in the Department?

A retired senior police officer tracing the creeping criminalization in the department said there was no such internal rot till about two years after President Jayewardene was installed in office, as during his first two years he did not tolerate wrong doers in the Department, but there after when he attempted to crack the whip, the bad eggs readily found ready protection and refuge in then Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa, who was in the process of building his political future. And since then it has been a case of history repeating itself.

He said that only way to tackle the menace before it gets any worse was to have a political will to do so and appointing the right officers for the task. At least President Rajapakse has now appointed a new Police Commission with some impressive names like Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera and Neville Piyadigama as its members. Let us hope at least for the sake of the country the new Commission can takeover the disciplinary control, transfers and other such duties concerning policemen entrusted to it under the 17th Amendment, though previous Commission failed to live up to its duties.

As things stand some of the worst corrupt and criminal elements in the Department linked to this mafia are kept in the Colombo division for years and if they are transferred it is mostly within the division. Sources said it was the same with even Senior DIGs.

What is even more worrying is that some of the officers who are targeted by the said mafia feel that even their phones are bugged, meaning that the corrupt elements are entrenched in all divisions.

IGP Chandra Fernando has reportedly handed over the investigations into the killing if IP Douglas and his wife Dhammika Vinodani to the CID, but many in the Department have very low opinion on the final outcome of the investigations, even though they have the highest regard for its head. Among those that IP Nimal had pointed an accusing finger in an interview with a Sunday newspaper is a senior DIG.

Considering the suspicions entertained by honest officers, Head of the CID DIG Asoka Wijetillake, said he was no stooge of anyone and he would ensure that irrespective of any personalities involved or their positions correct action was taken against those responsible.

DIG Wijetillake has entrusted the investigations to Superintendent A.M.S. Abeysinghe, who too is considered a good officer.

For once the Police Inspectors’ Association too is moving on the case. Instead of just limiting to verbal campaigns as in the past, for the first time in its history it is now expected to announce a big reward for any information on the killing of IP Douglas and his wife.

According to its outspoken President Dale Gunaratne they have already allocated Rs.250,000 to the children of the murdered officer and the Association has undertaken to look after them till the completion of their education.

In a big blow to the honest and duty conscious officers, Inspector Guneratne who has bravely and tirelessly fought to clean up the system over the years, meanwhile too has decided to leave the force in utter disgust. He asked what was the use in remaining in a force where a diary of drug baron Potta Naufer was recovered during the probe into the assassination of High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya, reportedly giving tell tale evidence about senior police officers in his pay roll, but to this day no action had been taken against a single officer.

According IP Gunaratne the gunned down officer though may have had some shortcomings was such an excellent individual that during the recent crackdown on hard drugs ordered by President Rajapakse out of about three kilos of heroin recovered in the drive IP Nimal had accounted for at least half that amount. Unlike many an officer shying away from frontline duties, he had served nine years in the war torn areas. In his opinion the Police Department simply pushed IP Douglas to be killed.


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