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Scapegoats For Big Fish To Escape!

  • An insight into Wele Suda and Piyawansha in the light of Lasantha’s killing

by Wimalanath Weerarathne

Wele Suda being taken to prison

I am not guilty!” Those were the last words of one of Sri Lanka’s drug kingpins – Don Samantha Kumara alias ‘Wele Suda’, after the High Court Judge handed over the death sentence.  One can safely assume that what he meant was not that he did not commit the heinous offence, but that the real masterminds and the actual benefactors, have escaped the gallows.

Wele Suda was indicted by the Attorney General for possessing and selling 7.05 grams of heroin at Mt. Lavinia on or around December 4, 2008. During interrogations he revealed that he had imported hundreds of tractors from Pakistan after their gear boxes were removed and drugs were concealed.

Was it because Sri Lanka’s farming community was in dire need of more tractors? For an average farmer, even buying a small-time tractor would cost a fortune. But for Wele Suda, even hundreds of tractors are mere ancillary! This is one proof that the magnitude of black money amassed by drug kingpins is immeasurable. The worst part is that only a mere agent who had 7.05 grams of heroin in his possession was sent to the gallows. The prosecutors estimate that his unlawfully-amassed assets unearthed so far amount to a staggering Rs. 170 million and earned his 57 indictments! If the investigators were to unearth all his assets, how many indictments would they earn him and how many billions of rupees would they amount to?

 

Big fish escape

When Wele Suda was arrested it was no secret that several VIPs were named and implicated in his statement to the Police. Unfortunately it seems like a statement that would never be revealed! A sitting Member of Parliament from the Colombo District was said to have this statement in his possession. Although we tried our level best to obtain this statement in order to publish and keep our readers informed, all means turned out to be futile. He is a popular as a minister who truly loves his country and as such should have in his own initiative made the names of tainted VIPs public. The fact that he too can’t afford to publicise the heroin kings means that the whole society would now have to send Wele Suda to gallows and be satisfied!

 

One-man operation?

There’s no doubt that Wele Suda could not have done the whole smuggling operation on his own. There are several other masterminds, but alas only Wele Suda is convicted. He is only the scapegoat. For his role of being the scapegoat no doubt he’s received billions. He is also said to have deposited several millions into the accounts of several popular actresses. These have become negligible events in a country where anything is done for money. If our society rejoices over the fact that one drug kingpin is sentenced to death, it seems so naïve. Wele Suda also faces the pronouncement of his death sentence with a sarcastic smile as he knows that this show is just for the galleries and that he too has portrayed himself as the main actor in the trial. He knows that though he is a pawn in this whole process, the kings and queens of the game who manipulated him escaped scot free.

The drug menace and the mafia operating in Sri Lanka can never be eradicated or eliminated because investigations and prosecutions never go beyond catching pawns, scapegoats and ‘decoys’ of  the game. A prudent person would not see the difference between this investigation and the probe into a victim of state terrorism. The true culprit or perpetrator will never be brought to justice. What happens is that the whole rat race is directed towards Wele Sudas and Piyawansas.

Recently the Police Spokesperson announced that public assistance is sought for the investigations into the cold-blooded murder of the Founder Editor of The Sunday Leader – Lasantha Wickrematunge. The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had made several hotlines public towards that end. Unfortunately, this investigation is no different to Wele Suda’s trial. The true assassin is likely to be never found and never brought to justice.

Just as Wele Suda’s heroin haul is totally not his, Wickrematunge killing is not an isolated act of a soldier. There are big fish that have escaped the net of justice. It might very well be a reality that just as the masterminds of Wele Suda’s drug operation might never be caught, the true architects of the diabolical plot that killed Lasantha will never be caught.

 

That fateful January eighth, 2009

That was the day Lasantha was shot dead in cold blood in broad daylight in the presence of several dozens of bystanders in close proximity of a High Security Zone. That was a tearful Thursday. I was in the Auditorium of the Information Department in Polhengoda, Narahenpita waiting for the Cabinet press conference to commence. By that time, Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa was in the ground floor with the Director Information. The Minister who arrived at the premises at 10.30 a.m. took over one and a half hours to climb one floor. Even before anyone could even ask a question his statement was “I cannot believe this has happened!” Many expressed profound sadness and fuming with anger. Lasantha’s killing was something which even the ever-powerful Rajapaksa administration could not face. All in the highest echelons of the government were shattered.

This was an indication that the Rajapaksa regime had thrown the whole country into an unthinkable pit of darkness. This was the unspoken story displayed by all the faces of the regime. The stagnation of Lasantha’s investigation is adequate proof that the ghostly shadows and tentacles of the defeated regime are trying to resurrect itself.

 

Since January nine

The Terrorism Investigations Department (TID) led probes into five mobile numbers that had interactions with Lasantha’s number the morning he was killed. They were able to locate Pichchai Jesudasan and during investigations details of another individual who kept in touch with him was unearthed. Jesudasan spilled details of one intelligent sleuth –  Kandegedara Piyawansha attached to the Military Intelligence arm who had bought five SIM cards under the name of Jesudasan.

Further digging into Piyawansha’s activities unearthed a top-secret intelligence cell located at the Sri Lanka Army Camp at Tripoli Market. The two suspects were taken into custody together with Lasantha’s mobile phone that went missing after the attack. Out of the two suspects apprehended, Jesudasan ‘died’ while in custody, and the second suspect Piyawansa was released by the police due to insufficient evidence.

After the military sleuth’s connection came into light, strangely, investigations too had stalled. It is likely that investigations are either unable to be taken forward or prevented from bringing military processes under the microscope.

 

LTTE link

Another vain move attempted by the Rajapaksa regime was to credit Lasantha’s killing into the account of the LTTE – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Till 2012, when Jesudasan ‘died’ under mysterious circumstances in custody, investigators had not even attempted to record a statement from the main suspect- Piyawansha. In these circumstances, the TID is ordered to handover investigations to the CID. Although the CID expressed its intention to Court that it required to question Piyawansha, the Sri Lanka Army failed to ‘comply’. After repeated orders by Court, the military produced the intelligence operative just once and that was also along with two high-ranking Army officers.

 

Piyawansha and Wele Suda

Probes into Lasantha’s killing are now stagnating. Without seeking public assistance as eyewash, the CID must question Piyawansha, without any delay. When there’s a suspect at hand, the authorities attempt to seek ‘public assistance’ for investigations; the move is nothing but a step to derail investigations. If authorities are unable to derail as intended, there might be moves to make Piyawansha another ‘Wele Suda’.  A day might dawn where perpetrators decide to make the intelligence operative the scapegoat. Due to unknown reasons, military personnel have allegedly left home with an offensive weapon used to kill animals instead  of a gun, to hunt down Lasantha Wickrematunge on that fateful Thursday, January eighth 2009. After pursuing Lasantha’s car till Attidiya, the diabolical goal was achieved.  Both Neither Mahinda, Gotabaya nor Fonseka were in any way connected with the killing. It was similar to the single-handed attempt by Wele Suda to smuggle heroin concealed in hand tractors!

 

Gota and Fonseka

The incumbent Editor In Chief of The Sunday Leader recently raised a very pertinent question. It was whether as to why statements were not recorded from the then Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and then Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka.

There is no doubt that journalists and media personnel were attacked, assaulted or abducted pursuant to whims and fancies of the once-mighty Rajapaksa regime and not as per wants and needs of pawns, scapegoats and ‘decoys’  like Piywanshas.  So Gotabaya and Fonseka must be questioned. They unwaveringly maintain that Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces did not commit atrocities.

However, if the incident is questioned step by step Gota and Fonseka duo might get into a soup. Wele Suda comes to the fore during such a situation. For big fish to escape, a Wele Suda is always needed. As stated before, Piyawansha too might one day become another ‘Wele Suda’. If we assume that Piyawansha is one day found guilty for the murder of Lasantha and the day the Judge questions him what his last words are, I would not be surprised if he does not say with a sarcastic smile “I am not guilty!” He states so as he is a mere weapon in the hands of the real perpetrators of the crime.

Time has come for prosecutors to make Piyawansha a state witness and bring the actual masterminds behind the scene, before the justice system of this country.

4 Comments for “Scapegoats For Big Fish To Escape!”

  1. Mahen

    Dear Wimalanath,

    “Time has come for prosecutors to make Piyawansha a state witness and bring the actual masterminds behind the scene, before the justice system of this country.”

    You have a hope in hell that this will happen? The current regime was only interested in coming to power. Not to clean up the system or apprehend the true marauders!

  2. In Sri Lanka not a Murder or Abduction carried out without the knowledge of the Devil Gotha or Saten Mahinda, even a child of Four will agree to this ” Holey Words ” , the whole family were born evil & poor thughs , now all including the small prat are the richest in SL. Not a cent was earned by good means , all blood money, for all what they did , they should rot in hell. Amen.

  3. kligon

    “Big fish”….sitting in the parliment…!!! (l this the other side of the good governance)

  4. Raja Punchihewa

    I did not read this article with any fascination but I feared for myself as a frequent subscriber making very critical comments about the former strongman, his family members, mafia gangsters pretending to be the parliamentarians and former and current politicians. These criminals seem to manipulate justice system, security apparatus, financial system and media even after the so called “January 8th revolution”. It was not a revolution basically it was an affair between two groups of gangsters pretending to be the parliamentarians. So I have decided not to subscribe anymore due to the fear already instilled in me with bogus, pretentious actions of the law-makers and their leaders of the country. Sunday Leader if you don’t have faith in on-going investigation into the assassination of Lasantha, how can an average citizen believe in the rule and order of Sri Lankan nation.

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