named as contractor by underworld gangster
Confessions of a key underworld character have revealed that
Chairman, Sri Lanka Telecom and
President, Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, Thilanga
Sumathipala has masterminded contract killings having maintained a
close relationship with an underworld kingpin.
Sri Lanka Telecom and President, Board of
Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, Thilanga Sumathipala
Godage alias ‘Bada Mahinda’ alias ‘Central Mahinda’ in written
statements to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has confessed
his active participation in a number of killings and attempted murders
— some of which he has alleged were planned and financed by Thilanga Sumathipala.
Mahinda as he was familiarly referred to among figures of the underworld
was a classmate of the feared underworld kingpin Dhammika Amarasinghe
alias Ruwan Liyanage alias Dhammika Perera.
Mahinda Godage alias Bada
Mahinda being taken to Gangodawila Magistrate’s Court
Mahinda trying to avoid photographers
commonly known as Dhammika Perera, Amarasinghe is now in remand custody
having surrendered to Police Headquarters recently. His pal and
strongman Bada Mahinda was arrested about eight months ago by CI Shani
Abeysekera, a sleuth attached to the CID.
Mahinda was nabbed by Abeysekera at Kotte having been found in
possession of a Brownie pistol that had been identified as the murder
weapon of another underworld figure — ‘Kandana Pradeep’ who was
killed at Kandana in 2001. Pradeep was heavily involved in human
smuggling. The real reasons for the killing have
not yet been identified.
Mahinda while being held in remand custody has made shocking
confessions, hoping his evidence will be substantive enough to name him
as a crown witness. A detailed account revealed to police discloses how
he operated together with Dhammika Amarasinghe alias Perera and a host
of other underworld figures, on many occasions under the patronage of
three such occasions, Bada Mahinda has confessed that Sumathipala
contracted Dhammika Perera to attempt the murder of
Editor in Chief of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha
to Mahinda, Dhammika Perera had one day in July 1998 asked him to come
and meet him together with another underworld figure known as Jackpot
Chaminda. Jackpot Chaminda is an army deserter and is also now in
they met, Perera had said they had a job to do at a “paththarakaraya’s”
claims that at the time he was unaware that it was to be at the home of The
Sunday Leader Editor.
his confession, he describes how the three of them arrived at the house
situated at Kandawatte Terrace in Nugegoda and that Jackpot Chaminda got
down from the vehicle they were travelling in, aimed a sawn off T56
weapon through the grills of the main front gate and unloaded a burst of
was injured or killed in the incident. The Wickrematunge’s
driver at the time Lalith, however narrowly escaped death as he
peered from his room facing the front gate to find out what the noise
was and a bullet whizzed
past his head.
Mahinda states in his confession that thereafter Dhamikka Perera
telephoned Thilanga Sumathipala from his mobile phone and told him,
“Sir, vadey hari” (the job is done.)
evidence appears to be credible
as the Wickrematunge’s following this attack on their home replaced
their front gate with one that has no grillwork.
for Bada Mahinda to describe the gate that was in place five years ago
lends credibility to his story.
two other occasions Mahinda says Sumathipala masterminded two more
assassination attempts on Lasantha Wickrematunge. On both occasions he
said, he together with Dhammika Perera lay in wait for Wickrematunge as
he drove in a red Pajero from his Nugegoda residence to work. Twice
however their plan to murder the Editor had to be abandoned as
Wickrematunge was accompanied by his wife Raine, and Mahinda claims he
prevailed upon Dhammika not to shoot as she too would have run the risk
of being murdered.
the relevant time Wickrematunge did drive a red Pajero which was also
damaged in the shooting at the residence.
fact that Sumathipala has had close links with Dhammika Perera is
substantiated by a detailed bill of mobile phone calls taken to and from
Perera’s cellular phone to the cellular phone number of Thilanga
Dhammika Perera is contactable on a Dialog mobile phone number while in remand. His telephone number is 077
6093568. The phone is registered under the name of one H. G. Priyankara
of 101, Market Road, Dambulla.
breakdown of his mobile phone bill has proved that Thilanga Sumathipala
has been in touch with Dhammika repeatedly while the underworld kingpin
sits in prison. Sumathipala’s mobile phone number reflected in the
bill is 0777 765544.
one hand it is curious how prison authorities are allowing Dhammika
Perera to use a mobile phone while in remand. More serious of course is the evidence that Thilanga Sumathipala has been
telephoning this very mobile phone to speak with the underworld thug.
we contacted Sumathipala and asked him if he has had any relationship
with the underworld figure Dhammika Amarasinghe alias Perera, he said,
“absolutely not.” Quizzed as to whether he planned and financed the
assassination attempts on Lasantha Wickrematunge, Sumathipala strongly
denied the charge saying, “I was one of the first to rush to
Lasantha’s house when it was shot at in 1998 — we have been friends
for many years and all this is the work of Gamini Abeyratne in an
attempt to split the party.”
Abeyratne is executive director, Airport
Aviation Authority and a strong loyalist of the United National Party.
out the mobile phone number presently used by Dhammika Perera, we asked
Sumathipala if he was familiar with the phone number. He said he did not
recognise the number at all. “This is news to me. I cannot remember
this particular number. If anyone is giving this kind of information, it
is very serious because I have had nothing to do with this,” he
that a breakdown of the mobile phone bill for the phone used by Dhammika
Perera proved that Sumathipala had repeatedly telephoned this number and
received calls from this number while in remand, he said, “anyone
could have called me from that number — I do not know, But I have
never spoken with Dhammika Perera.”
added that all these allegations are being made by people who are trying
to split the government. “They are doing this by now hitting out at
me, and by hurting or
upsetting Lasantha they think they can cause a split,” he said.
to play dirty”
charged that “President Chandrika Kumaratunga has suddenly woken up
and is trying to divide our people. This is the result,” he said. He
added that Gamini Abeyratne “controls underworld figures and this is
the way he is now trying to once more play dirty.”
from these assassination attempts on Wickrematunge ‘Bada Mahinda’
meanwhile has further stated in his confession that Sumathipala is
believed to have paid Dhamikka Perera Rs. 90 lakhs to murder Baddegana
Sanjeewa, a former member of the Presidential Security Division (PSD)
and another underworld kingpin.
motive for the killings and attempted murders on Lasantha Wickrematunge
allegedly planned and financed by Sumathipala is believed to have been
due to Sumathipala’s close association with a former PA stalwart.
stalwart at the time was a strongman and a minister in the People’s
Alliance government and a bitter adversary of Lasantha Wickrematunge
whose newspaper consistently published scandalous misdeeds of the PA
where both the
President Chandrika Kumaratunga were named.
both President Kumaratunga and her one time ally, S. B. Dissanayake have
accused each other publicly of planning to kill an “editor or two.”
fall-out with Baddegana Sanjeewa is believed to have taken place due to
the fact that Sanjeewa’s brother had begun working for Rajitha
Senaratne preceding the December 2001 general election and even
presently is under the employment of the Lands Minister.
is speculated that Baddegana Sanjeewa had begun “talking too much”
and was about to spill the beans to the then opposition UNF on the eve
of elections on some of the atrocities committed during the regime of
the People’s Alliance.
to Bada Mahinda the killing of Baddegana Sanjeewa was carried out by
Dhammika Perera and another underworld figure known as ‘Gala’ alias
is Gala who allegedly shot Baddegana Sanjeewa dead when they drove
together in the latter’s vehicle — a black Rav4 jeep. Gala
subsequently made a signed confession to the Peliyagoda police Special
Crimes Unit but senior cops never took the initiative to remand him for
this murder. He is now believed to be residing in the UK.
the murder of Baddegana Sanjeewa in 2001, Bada Mahinda has stated that
he had been watching the Sri Lankan team playing a cricket match in
Sharjah on the upper floor of a pharmacy situated at Kotte, together
with other underworld figures Jackpot Chaminda, Dias and Pradeep Malli.
says he then got a call from Dhammika to go to Baddegana Sanjeewa’s
house situated at Duwa Road in Kotte and find out who he was with. On
the pretext of dropping a close friend and associate of Baddegana
Sanjeewa, one Duwe Shantha who lived in the same neighbourhood as Baddeg-
ana Sanjeewa, Bada Mahinda says he carried out a casual recce on
Sanjeewa’s house and returned to the pharmacy.
an hour had passed he claims Duwe Shantha had turned up at a timber
depot in Kotte which was a popular haunt of Dhammika and his cohorts.
Dhammika is believed to actually own 40 perches of land where this
timber depot is located. Land, police claim he was able to purchase from
the blood money paid to him for contract killings.
Duwe Shantha was soon joined by another underworld figure known as
Ratmalana Jesmi and thereafter Dhammika and Gala. A short time later,
Baddegana Sanjeewa himself turned up in his Rav4 jeep. After some
discussion, Dhammika climbed into the front seat of the vehicle while
Gala got in the back. They had then driven off in the direction of
hour later, Mahinda claims they returned to the pharmacy where he was
still watching the cricket match, but only Dhammika and Gala had come
upstairs and there, they exchanged their guns with each other. They once
more had left together with Baddegana Sanjeewa in the latter’s
vehicle. They did not travel far as on Pagoda Road, Gala pulled out
Dhammika’s gun which was in his possession and shot Baddegana Sanjeewa
from behind. The victim according to Mahinda had fallen on Dhammika who
was seated in the passenger front seat, but Dhammika pushed his long
time friend away shouting at the limp body in raw Sinhala filth.
two killers had then got down from the jeep and got into a blue car that
had been following the jeep driven by a man called Suminda. To date
police have been unable to trace this person.
killers however got stuck as the car ran out of petrol and Mahinda says
he received an urgent telephone call from Gala telling him that he had
just killed Baddegana Sanjeewa and their getaway car had run out of
petrol. He was told to retrieve the car, which had been parked in a side
lane in Nugegoda, with the car keys inside, fill it with petrol and
await further instructions. He says that Dhammika had also telephoned
and told him to leave the pharmacy and not hang around until the heat
died down over Baddegana Sanjeewa’s killing.
however claims he did not go and retrieve the car and it was later found
abandoned in Nugegoda by the Mirihana police. Todate this car lies at
the Mirihana police station as the cops found it to be unregistered and
one that had been imported in parts and assembled locally.
Mahinda in his confession states that Baddegana Sanjeewa was shot dead
at around 7.45 p.m. on November 2, 2001. Later that night he states that
he received another phone call from Dhammika telling him to meet him at
the Kaduwela Bridge at 12 midnight. He says he did so, and was met by
Dhammika Perera, Jackpot Chaminda, Dias and Gala. Dhammika had told him
to join them and that they were driving to Polonnaruwa to escape
detection for the murder of Baddegana Sanjeewa. Bada Mahinda however had
refused to leave and the group left without him. Ten days later, he
claims he got another phone call from Dhammika asking him to join them
at a house in Dehiwela which is allegedly
used by Thilanga Sumathipala’s brother, Jagath Sumathipala.
states he went there and this entire group were fed and looked after
well — supplied daily
with bottles of whisky and eatables purchased from Keells Supermarket
— all allegedly at the cost of the Sumathipala brothers.
claims that this group stayed at this house for a period of two months
before it was deemed safe enough for them to return to their respective
questioned, Thilanga Sumathipala denied he financed the murder of
Baddegana Sanjeewa saying: “I never even knew the man — why would I
want him killed? He was a member of the PSD — I have had nothing to do
with the PSD.”
was subsequently arrested by, the Peliyagoda police on suspicion of
another killing which is when he confessed to the murder of Baddegana
Sanjeewa. Amazingly though, senior cops did nothing further to pursue
the matter and Gala was released due to a lack of further evidence for
another murder he had been arrested for. It is believed that he later
sought safety by travelling to reside in London.
Mahinda has in the meantime also confessed that it is Thilanga
Sumathipala who recently instigated and financed the burning down of a
rival bookie club in Kandy called Lake Club.
Amarasinghe alias Perera is wanted for at least 50 murders. He has
escaped arrest so far as a result of a lack of evidence in all these
killings and the immense political protection he enjoyed during the
regime of the PA and later the UNF as well. His alleged relationship
with Thilanga Sumathipala appears to be a testimonial of this fact.
tentacles of an underworld kingpin
Perera alias Amarasinghe is believed to have over the years
carried out a spate of killings to avenge the murder of his
brother Chinthaka Amarasinghe. Chinthaka was killed at Thotalanga
by underworld figures called Kalu Ajit, Chutta and Victor in 1998.
Dhammika later killed Chutta at IDH. At the time
he was accompanied by Moratu Saman, his cousin Thajit, Tharawatte
Ajit alias Ajit Kulatunga who is the main accused in the killing
of Satana Editor Rohana Kumara, Jackpot Chaminda, Bada
Mahinda, Baddegana Sanjeewa and three other unnamed officers from
Chutta was killed at a restaurant at IDH while in
the company of one Tuwan who was also shot dead in the shoot out.
Both bodies were taken by Dhammika to an isolated area close to
the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital where he according to Bada
Mahinda cut the neck of Chutta and shot the decapitated head three
times in a rage and a fit of vengeance for his brother,
Chinthaka’s killing. Setting fire to the bodies, Mahinda says in
his confession that Dhammika then took the dismembered head of
Chutta and deposited it at the same site where his brother
Chinthaka was murdered at Thotalanga.
While carrying the dismembered head the group was
stopped at a police checkpoint at Ingurukade but Baddegana
Sanjeewa had shown his ID and said he is from the PSD and the
group with its gory possession proceeded.
Tharawatte Ajit wanted for the murder of Rohana
Kumara has also escaped the police net and is believed to be at
present hiding in France.
Subsequently, Mahinda says Dhammika had a fallout
with Moratu Saman and tried to kill him at Thalahena. He missed
his target but shot dead in the process one Gihan Mendis who
happened to be travelling in the same vehicle as Moratu Saman.
Mahinda maintains that this attempted murder was
carried out by Dhammika, Jackpot Chaminda and another underworld
figure called Lanka. Moratu Saman meantime was gunned down in May
this year by another rival underworld gang.
Meanwhile, Thajit (Dhammika’s first cousin) had
by this time begun a love affair with Chinthaka’s wife. Incensed
and angry at the affair, Mahinda has confessed that Dhammika on
another occasion was travelling in the company of his wife,
mother, two brothers, Chaminda and Buddhika, Kotte Pradeep,
Wanigasekera, Susila Amarasinghe and two other cousins called
Bunty and Deepa.
Dhammika had stopped at the timber depot at Kotte
where Thajit had been standing, got down from the vehicle and shot
him at point blank range in the knee demanding he end the affair
with his sister-in-law who had also been inside the vehicle at the
time of the attack. Bada Mahinda says he was a witness to this
incident as he had also been present inside the same van.
Thajit was warded for his injuries but refused to
divulge who had shot him — fearing for his life. He later staked
a hide-out at Dambulla but was tracked down and arrested by CID
sleuth CI Samudrajeewa who led a police party and arrested Thajit
for his connection with previous killings.
Bada Mahinda further maintains that Dhammika met
and formed a close alliance with Lohan Ratwatte via Baddegana
Sanjeewa. Dhammika according to Mahinda later assisted Ratwatte in
the 2000 elections to “stuff thousands of stolen ballot papers
into ballot boxes.” Dhammika during this time had been detected
at a police checkpoint at Kadugannawa with a haul of weapons and
arrested but later released after Lohan Ratwatte had prevailed
upon the Kadugannawa police OIC to free him.
The triple murder at Kaduwela where Kaduwela
Wasantha’s brother Raja and two others were killed according to
Bada Mahinda was also carried out by Dhammika, Jackpot Chaminda,
Moratu Saman and Lanka. Bada Mahinda says he drove the van that
carried the killers.
Kaduwela Wasantha was also later killed by
another gangster known as ‘Karate Dhammika.’
Dhammika’s deadly tentacles spread far and
wide. He was later involved in the killing of another underworld
figure known as Tudor of Negombo. This killing he carried out
together with another underworld kingpin from Negombo known as
Even Capt. Ranjit has escaped the police and is
hiding in Italy. In the meantime Dhammika did not forget his
brother’s murder and targeted yet another underworld figure
called Harrison Chandrasiri. Using Harrison’s mistress Margi,
Dhammika convinced her to reveal Harrison’s whereabouts and shot
him dead at Dehiwela while he was distributing invitation cards
for his daughter’s forthcoming wedding. Harrison became a target
for Dhammika as the latter believed that Harrison had financed
Kalu Ajit who killed his brother Chinthaka.
Harrison also enjoyed a close relationship with
the OIC Crimes, Grandpass police, IP Mahindasiri. In his
confession Bada Mahinda has said that Inspector Mahindasiri
narrowly escaped death the day Harrison was murdered as he was due
to travel in the same vehicle together with Harrison that day as
he often did but later changed plans.
In fact it is Mahindasiri according to Bada
Mahinda who even telephoned Margi and informed her that Harrison
had been gunned down, unaware that she had assisted the killers to
murder her lover.
Police believe that Dhammika is still calling the
shots from prison. Using a mobile phone, he continues to threaten
adversaries and issue instructions to other underworld figures to
carry out various contract killings and extortions. Obviously, his
contacts with police and politicians, continues to hold him in
A high level
investigation led by Superintendent of Police M. A. Gnanaratne of
the CID is now underway to determine the links into the above
cases between politicians, high ranking political appointees and
the underworld ‘Mafia’ style gangs.