The Law In Quest For Justice
By Binoy Suriyaarachchi
The police investigation teams are still looking for clues to arrest unidentified offenders who assaulted a police constable and those who set fire to the officer’s car in the 20-acre area, Bombuwala in Dodangoda. The preliminary inquiries into the incident have already been concluded, and the investigation teams are now focusing on the secondary level investigation based on scientific evidence, police sources said.
Ruling party member, Deputy Minister Hemal Gunasekera has been in the spotlight as injured constable, A.H.D. Suminda Saman in his statement to the police stated that he believes the Deputy Minister was behind the attack. The police teams have not recorded a statement from the Deputy Minister in their preliminary investigations, The Sunday Leader learns. The police officer who was initially admitted to the Nagoda General Hospital following the attack has been transferred to the Police Hospital for further treatments.
Reportedly, he was threatened by the Deputy Minister at the Southern Expressway tollgate at Kottawa interchange on May 20. This came after the officer attempted to impose a fine sheet to the driver of the minister’s vehicle that travelled towards Kottawa on the Expressway exceeding at a speed over 140 Kmp bearing a garage number.
Instead of accepting the fine sheet, the Deputy Minister had allegedly threatened the officer and forced him to kneel down and apologize. However, when the constable refused to do so, the Deputy Minister had paid the fine and left the scene after arguing with the police officer, the police sources said.
More questions remain unanswered surrounding the controversial attack on the constable that occurred just 10 days after the argument with the Deputy Minister. Police Spokesperson, SSP Ajith Rohana told.
“The constable suspects the Deputy Minister is behind the attack. So do his family members. But, in the first place, our teams need to clarify whether a cab has come to the crime scene, whether there was a shooting, and whether the vehicle was set on fire by a third party.
The investigation teams need concrete evidence to establish these facts. The teams have doubts about whether they can record the statement from the Deputy Minister under this circumstance,” said SSP Rohana. However, an inquiring team attached to the Mirihana Police has recorded a statement from the Deputy Minister, Hemal Gunasekera on May 5.
In a joint operation, three police teams conduct inquiries into the incident. SSP Rohana went on saying that the constable in his statement to the police has stated that those who assaulted him and torched his car came in a cab.
JVP National Organiser, Bimal Ratnayake commenting on the incident said that the top-rank police personnel hesitate to step forward to safeguard their subordinates.
“The police constable has imposed the fine to the Deputy Minister’s vehicle. Thereafter, within a few days, this police officer was assaulted and his car was set on fire. But how has this happened?”
“But this is his version of the story. We need to ascertain other details to accept his evidence,” SSP Rohana added.
According to SSP Rohana, the police investigations have also revealed that there was an argument between the police officer and the Deputy Minister at the tollgate. “But first it’s required to reveal whether that this particular incident has any connection to the second incident,” said Rohana.
It is reported that some records submitted by the police constable to the daily register book at the Kottawa Police post regarding threats and intimidations that he was subjected to by the Deputy Minister, have been destroyed.
SSP Rohana while denying the allegations said, “Both the Deputy Minister and the police officer admitted that the incident happened at the tollgate. The police have also obtained the CCTV footage of the incident.”
The officers attached to the Government Analyst’s Department have examined the crime scene on May 31. A comprehensive report will be issued by the GA Department to make known the cause of the fire. Until that time, we cannot make a prejudgment,” said Rohana.
It is also reported that a comprehensive letter has been handed over to the Police Headquarters by the injured officer requesting to conduct unbiased inquiry into the matter.
Unfair to blame me: Deputy Minister Hemal Gunasekera
Cooperatives and Internal Trade Deputy Minister Hemal Gunasekera told The Sunday Leader that it was unfair to blame him for the attack on the police constable in Bombuwala area in Dodangoda.
“I’m not involved in this. I don’t want to interferer with the police investigations,” said Gunasekera. The Deputy Minister admitted that his vehicle had been issued with a speeding ticket at the Southern Expressway on May 20 by constable Suminda. “I don’t even know this person. We left after paying the fine by my driver. I don’t know anything more than that,” Gunasekera said.
The deputy Minister pointed out that it could be anyone who could travel in the cab and assaulted the police constable. “As this turn out to be a big issue to me, I also did some researches on this officer lately. I came to know that this constable had a personal dispute with an army soldier over a domestic problem. So, it might be him who wanted to assault the police officer. I don’t even consume meat or fish, how could I harm anyone,” Gunasekera added.
UNP demands action against Deputy Minister
The United National Party (UNP) strongly condemns the attack on police constable Suminda Saman.
The UNP issuing a hard-hitting statement said that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) should stand up to safeguard the safety and dignity of police officers and the thousands of others that may face a similar predicament at the hands of politicians and their affiliates.
The statement further cited, “Will he question the Deputy Minister; will he demand accountability of the political leadership? The IGP must set an example to prove that no one is above the law.
Constable Saman’s only crime was that he treated a minister of the government like he does any other citizen. He has paid the price for his fair duty. Which policeman will ever dare to book a politician for wrongdoing again?”
The UNP statement also says, “For the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunga in broad daylight in 2009, for the innumerable attacks on media personnel, the Secretary to the Judicial Services Commission during the impeachment saga, the attack on a group of UNP parliamentarians in Mattala, investigations have only been commenced, never concluded.
Perpetrators are never prosecuted and impunity reigns. The investigations have always led nowhere, perhaps because the trail leads too often to the doors of the most powerful people in this country.”