new evidence against Thilanga Sumathipala
President BCCSL and Chairman SLT Thilanga Sumathipala
Dhammika Amarasinghe alias Perera
Bada Mahinda alias Mahinda
evidence has now surfaced in the case against President, Board of
Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) and Chairman, Sri Lanka Telecom
(SLT), Thilanga Sumathipala not only corroborating underworld figure
Bada Mahinda’s confession but also establishing without any shadow of
a doubt Sumathipala’s links to underworld leader Dhammika Amarasinghe.
evidence proves that Thilanga Sumathipala has even financed Dhammika’s
visit under a false identity and passport to England in 1999 to witness
the World Cup Cricket matches, using funds from the Cricket Board to do
his previous tenure as President, BCCSL in early 1999, Sumathipala
utilised a sum of Rs. 170,651.34 from the funds of the BCCSL to purchase
travellers cheques for underworld kingpin, Dhammika Amarasinghe alias
Perera under the name of Buddhika Priyashantha Godage, the brother of
monies Sumathipala used classifying such payment under his own name. A
voucher bearing No. 55 to this effect was issued to purchase travellers
cheques for one Buddhika Godage to fly to the UK to attend the 1999 ICC
Cricket World Cup matches.
the last three weeks, Sumathipala has carried out intense lobbying,
meeting with government ministers including Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe last Monday, insisting he is innocent of the damnable
charges made against him by the underworld figure Bada Mahinda. The
latter worked as a close associate of Dhammika and was witness to a
series of crimes committed by this underworld gang.
we comment on Bada Mahinda’s confessions which are now being
corroborated by police with other independent evidence, it is important
to detail our investigation, which proves beyond all doubt that Thilanga
Sumathipala indeed financed Dhammika Amarasinghe. Not by using his own
personal funds, nay, but by using the monies of the Cricket Board for
Dhammika to purchase travellers cheques in order to travel to the UK in
is not all. Sumathipala did so while aiding and abetting Dhammika to use
a forged passport which Dhammika had secured from the Immigration and
Emigration Department by using the name of Bada Mahinda’s younger
brother, Buddhika Priyashantha Godage.
when Sumathipala directed the Cricket Board to issue travellers cheques in the name of Godage to the tune of Rs.
170, 651.34 for Dhammika’s travel, he knew it was done on the basis
of a forged identity and passport.
December 1997, Dhammika Amarasinghe applied for a passport from the
Immigration and Emigration Department. He made his application on
December 28, 1997, by presenting an ID card, bearing no. 732161295V in
the name of Buddhika Priyashantha Godage. Dhammika also gave a copy of
Godage’s birth certificate claiming it to be his own.
and Buddhika Godage bear a resemblance to each other, which is how
probably the former got away with the scam. His application for a
passport was certified by S. Palihawadana, Justice of the Peace at
Jayanthipura in Battaramulla. Dhammika gave his address under the name
of Buddhika Godage as residing at 431/1, Pitakotte in Kotte. Under the
category of profession he stated that he is “unemployed.”
however had to use his own passport size photograph for this purpose,
though all other details indicated him to be Buddhika Godage. His
signature on the application forms in his own handwriting will soon be
verified for authenticity by sleuths attached to the Criminal
Investigations Department (CID). He signed the application forms in
Sinhalese as B. Godage.
paid a sum of Rs. 3000 to the Immigration and Emigration Department on
December 28, 1997. He was issued a passport two days later on December
30, 1997 bearing number M1604462. It is this passport that Dhammika used
in the name of Buddhika Priyashantha Godage to travel to the UK in 1999
in order to watch the Cricket World Cup matches.
the BCCSL was dissolved, a committee was appointed to investigate into
the queries raised by the auditors in the auditor’s accounts of the
BCCSL. This committee’s report on page 16 states, “as per FC voucher
No. 55 an amount of Rs. 170, 651.34 was paid for the travellers cheques
of Mr. Buddhika Godage. But this payment was classified under the name
of the then president of the BCCSL. We were unable to establish the
identity of Mr. Buddhika Godage.”
committee was appointed on February 21, 2000. It comprised of Chairman,
Employees Trust Fund Board, G. Jinadasa, Chief Accountant, Finance and
Planning Ministry, N. Warusawitharana, Deputy Director, Department of
State Accounts from the Finance and Planning Ministry, D. Abeysuriya,
and Chief Accountant, Samurdhi, Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry, A. V.
Thilanga Sumathipala used Rs. 170,000 of BCCSL funds to buy travellers
cheques for Dhammika Amarasinghe in the name of Buddhika Godage to
travel to the UK, Dhammika was a wanted man.
1999, police had substantive evidence which linked Dhammika to nearly
two dozen murders. According to the recent confession made by Bada
Mahinda, Dhammika around this time also murdered another underworld
figure called Chutta, who was the killer of his brother Chinthaka.
According to Mahinda, Dhammika got
Chutta’s head cut off and after killing him, shot at the
dismembered head four or five times, burnt it
and then taking the gory body part in a vehicle, he deposited it
at the same place his brother had been killed at Thotalanga.
to the UK
is for this individual that Thilanga Sumathipala used finances of the
BCCSL to send on a holiday to the UK in order to watch the 1999 World
Cup Cricket tournament.
Was Dhammika, a notorious killer, a childhood friend of Sumathipala or
was he a member of the Cricket Board, may be an expert cricket
commentator or even coach? Or was it to repay for favours done by a
on November 6, 2002, Dhammika applied once more for a new passport. This
time too he used the name Buddhika Priyashantha Godage
photograph varied as he had taken a close shaven hair cut but still
sported a thin moustache and beard. He paid Rs. 5000 on November 6, last
year in order to collect the passport the same day he made the
application. He was issued a new passport bearing no. M2239491. He
stated the identical details as in his previous application once more
stating he was unemployed. His date of birth in both applications is
that of Buddhika Godage, born on August 3, 1973.
passport application last year was certified by H. G. Wijeyratne,
Justice of the Peace at Vauxhall Street in Colombo 2. While we cannot
yet prove that Thilanga Sumathipala directly assisted Dhammika in
getting not one but two passports after submitting false information, we
can however prove that Sumathipala undoubtedly was aware that Dhammika
was using a forged passport at the time he facilitated his travel to the
UK in 1999 to attend the ICC World Cup Cricket matches.
is Sumathipala who classified a payment of over Rs. 170,000 in
travellers cheques in the name of Buddhika
Godage, as President BCCSL, knowing it was underworld killer
Dhammika’s forged identity to travel to UK. This is revealed
clearly from the report
of the committee appointed by the then secretary to the Samurdhi, Youth
Affairs and Sports Ministry. Apart from the travellers cheques, it is
also believed Thilanga
Sumathipala paid for Dhammika’s
airfare to and from the UK.
reliably learns that the BCCSL issued a letter of recommendation, on the
instructions of its President, Thilanga Sumathipala to the British High
Commission (BHC) in 1999 for Buddhika Godage to be granted a visa. It
was made out as was indeed the case that Dhammika,
using the forged identity of Godage, was part of the official
BCCSL entourage. Sleuths from the CID are to make a formal request to
the BHC to obtain the necessary records this week.
that we have established beyond any shadow of a doubt the link between
the dreaded underworld figure Dhammika Amarasinghe and Thilanga
Sumathipala we will in addition detail further evidence at our disposal.
it is important for the record to state here that the above evidence
clearly corroborates statements made by Bada Mahinda, Dhammika’s
former buddy and right hand man, that Thilanga Sumathipala indeed
financed a trip to the UK in 1999 in order that the underworld kingpin
Dhammika Amarasinghe may attend the World Cup Cricket tournament.
is Bada Mahinda’s charge in his confession before the Gangodawila
Magistrate that Dhammika telephoned someone he called “Thilanga
boss” soon after the shoot out on Lasantha Wickrematunge’s home at
Nugegoda in July 1998. Wickrematunge is Editor in Chief of The Sunday
Leader. According to Bada Mahinda, Dhammika allegedly telephoned an
individual from his mobile phone soon after the shooting and said,
“Thilanga boss, vade hari.”
needs to be established is who this “Thilanga boss” could be.
Thilanga Sumathipala for his part has repeatedly professed his innocence
in this entire saga, We have now however proved otherwise.
our first expose on this issue, we contacted Sumathipala in order to
verify the information in our possession. When questioned Sumathipala
categorically denied having any links with the underworld thug Dhammika
Amarasinghe. He also denied that Dhammika had been in contact with him
— even while the latter is in remand prison — by using a mobile
telephone and calling Sumathipala on his own personal mobile phone
bearing number 0777 76 55 44.
also said he had absolutely no involvement in the shoot out on Lasantha
Wickrematunge’s home in July 1998. He went one step further by saying
that he was among those who rushed to Wickrematunge’s house soon after
the shooting. In this instance also Sumathipala uttered a falsehood, as
he never visited the home of Wickrematunge on that day. He further
denied any involvement in the assassination of former officer of the
Presidential Security Division, Baddegana Sanjeewa, who was also an
after we spoke with Sumathipala, he telephoned Lasantha Wickrematunge
and pleaded his innocence asserting that all the allegations are
completely false. He maintained to Wickrematunge too, that he has
absolutely no links with Dhammika Amarasinghe.
denials of links
to Dhammika therefore lack all credibility in the face of the
evidence that has been detailed above.
added that President Chandrika Kumaratunga is struggling to regain power
and is engaged in a conspiracy to topple this government together with
her former strongman of the PSD Nihal Karunaratne and the present
Executive Director, Airport and Aviation Services, Gamini Abeyratne whom
Sumathipala charged is playing a double game. Abeyratne is a strong UNP
loyalist and close confidant of several senior UNPers.
then told Sumathipala, “if as you say, you have had absolutely no
relationship with Dhammika, how is it that a detailed bill taken from
the mobile telephone used by Dhammika in prison reflects your personal
mobile phone number?”
had then responded saying, “Yes, Dhammika has spoken to me from
prison.” Sumathipala however pleaded saying, “Lasantha, I want you
to believe and trust me that while I may have links with Dhammika I had
nothing to do with the shoot out on your home — which is what Bada
Mahinda has said. That is completely false.”
had then told Sumathipala that there is sufficient evidence to indicate
that Sumathipala was indeed involved in this incident. He explained that
according to Bada Mahinda’s statements he has not only detailed
accurately the approach roads the underworld gang used to reach
Wickrematunge’s home that night, but has also detailed the entrance
gate which at the time of the shooting had a grill in the middle.
week after the shooting Wickrematunge changed this gate to one that had
no grill at all. He told Sumathipala that he believed Bada Mahinda was
speaking the truth as the man could not have five years later,
remembered with such detail a gate which was changed within a week of
the shooting, if indeed he had not been present at the time of the
Mahinda has also described a red colour Pajero jeep that Wickrematunge
drove at the time and which was parked visibly inside his garage at the
time of the shooting. This jeep too Wickrematunge subsequently sold.
had then conceded that maybe this gang did indeed carry out this
shooting. But, he told Wickrematunge, “I want you to know that I had
nothing to do with this incident.” He told Wickrematunge that while he
may now have contact with Dhammika Amarasinghe at the time of the
shooting on the Editor’s house in 1998, he did not know the underworld
must be pointed out at this stage is that less than a year later in May
1999, Sumathipala used Rs. 170,000 from the funds of the BCCSL to
facilitate Dhammika Amarasinghe’s journey to the UK using his false
passport in the name of Buddhika Godage. It is indeed hard to believe
that Sumathipala had absolutely no acquaintance with Dhammika at the
time of the shoot out at Wickrematunge’s home in July 1998. After all,
barely 10 months later, Sumathipala paid for the underworld kingpin to
travel to England to witness first hand, the Cricket World Cup matches.
The cricket matches began in England on May 14, 1999 and concluded on
June 20, 1999.
meanwhile also confronted Sumathipala with the evidence that had
surfaced linking his involvement with the assassination of Baddegana
Sanjeewa. Sumathipala had then responded saying, “I will not lie to
you — I was not involved in the murder of Baddegana Sanjeewa but I was
present at some meetings where the murder was planned.” He added, “I
want you to trust me and believe however that I had nothing to do with
the shoot-out on your home.”
short while later, Sumathipala once more telephoned Wickrematunge that
same day September the 4th, and said that he had used “his channels”
to contact Dhammika in prison and verify if indeed the latter had
carried out the shooting on Wickrematunge’s home. According to
Sumathipala, he had told Wickrematunge that Dhammika had admitted to
having orchestrated and carried out the shooting. Sumathipala then said
that at the time Dhammika Amarasinghe had been a cohort of former Deputy
Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte.
had asked Sumathipala if Dhammika has indicated he is willing to say as
much in his statement to police implicating Anuruddha Ratwatte to which
Sumathipala has replied, “yes — he will.”
in rising to the bait of this line of questioning probably did not realise by so stating that he was
establishing beyond doubt his influence
had further clarified that he contacted Dhammikka Amarasinghe after
having first telephoned Wickrematunge on the 4th. His second phone call
to Wickrematunge was made
within a space of 20 minutes.
of this telephone conversation Lasantha Wickrematunge has made official
by giving a statement to the CID, last Wednesday. (See box for excerpts)
the inclusion and influx of money to cricket, corrupt men of Thilanga
Sumathipala’s calibre who would otherwise never have been allowed to
hold office within the august chambers of the BCCSL were however drawn
onto its boards due to the amount of money cricketers and cricket
money and power the president of the BCCSL wielded was music to
Sumathipala’s ears. Such a fatal attraction unfortunately has proved
disastrous to the credibility previously attached to this noble office.
So much for Thilanga Sumathipala’s self professed love for the game of
Application for the passportin
1997 by Dhammika in the name of Godage who is the brother of Bada
The passport issued to Dhammika under the name of Buddika
of The Sunday Leader editor’s statement to the CID
On or around July 17, 1998 I
returned home from a dinner at the Taj Samudra Hotel at around 11
p.m. I went directly upstairs to prepare for bed. Fifteen or 20
minutes later I heard a sound like firecrackers exploding.
My domestic aide Manike soon after called out that someone
had shot at the house. My driver Lalith who was sleeping in a room
downstairs facing the front gate had narrowly escaped death as a
bullet had whizzed past his head when he peeped through the window
at the noise.
The shooting broke the front glasses of the house, damaged
the walls as well as two vehicles, a red Pajero and a brown
station wagon car parked inside.
This incident happened on a Wednesday. The next day was the
weekly post cabinet press briefing where the then Minister Mangala
Samaraweera was questioned by members of the media with regard to
this incident. He said that President Chandrika Kumaratunga had
ordered the CID to record my statement in this regard within 24
hours of the attack and begin a full-scale investigation. However,
the CID never requested a statement from me — the only statement
I made was to the Mirihana police. Today, Wednesday October 1,
2003 is the first time the CID is taking a statement from me in
relation to this incident.
Just before the 2001 general election, at the time the
People’s Alliance was undergoing a serious split with many
ministers and MPs crossing over to the UNP, former PA strongman S.
B. Dissanayake made a public statement that there had been a plan
within the PA to kill an editor or two. This statement was given
wide publicity in the media. President Chandrika Kumaratunga then
responded by saying that a minister in her government had told her
of a plan to kill two newspaper editors because they were causing
too much hassle to the government and that they must be got rid
off. The President did not name the minister but said she had
severely reprimanded him saying that if any such thing happened
she would punish him.
S. B. Dissanayake replied by stating that it was President
Chandrika Kumaratunga who had wanted the two editors killed but
that he had advised her against doing so.
It is in this backdrop that Frederica Jansz a journalist at The
Sunday Leader was informed of certain facts emanating out of
an investigation carried out by the CID in relation to the
underworld figure Dhammika Amarasinghe and a host of killings he
is wanted for. Some of these facts had emerged following a
statement made to the CID by an accomplice of Dhammika Amarasinghe,
one Bada Mahinda.
She discussed the information she had received with me in my
capacity as editor in chief of The Sunday Leader and I
requested her to proceed with finding out more facts and write an
article for The Sunday Leader.
From the additional information she gathered it was revealed
that Dhammika Amarasinghe had carried out the shooting on my house
in 1998 after having been contracted to do so allegedly by
Thilanga Sumathipala, President of Sri Lanka Cricket and Chairman
of Sri Lanka Telecom.
Other details also surfaced that Thilanga Sumathipala had
additionally contracted this underworld gang to assassinate me on
some other occasions too. I instructed Frederica Jansz to speak to
Thilanga Sumathipala and tell him about the information we had
gathered and get his response.
She thereafter telephoned Thilanga Sumathipala on September
4, 2003 and told him about the charges. A short while later,
Thilanga Sumathipala telephoned me on my mobile phone which
reflected his personal mobile number 0777 76 55 44. He called me
and said Frederica had spoken to him and questioned him on the
above cases. He told me he was totally innocent and had no links
with Dhammika Amarasinghe.
He also said President Chandrika Kumaratunga is struggling to
regain power and is engaged in a conspiracy to topple this
government together with her former strongman of the PSD Nihal
Karunaratne and the present Executive Director, Airport and
Aviation, Gamini Abeyratne whom Sumathipala charged is playing a
I then asked him, “if as you say you have had absolutely no
relationship with Dhammika, how is it that a detailed bill taken
from the mobile telephone used by Dhammika in prison reflects your
personal mobile phone number?”
Sumathipala then responded saying, “Yes, Dhammika has
spoken to me from prison.” Saying this, he requested me to
believe and trust him saying that while he may now have links with
Dhammika he had nothing to do with the shoot out on my home —
which is what Bada Mahinda has said. That is completely false, he
I then told him that I had reason to believe Bada Mahinda was
indeed speaking the truth as he had detailed the manner in which
the attack was carried out and in particular described the front
gate to my house which Bada Mahinda rightly says had a grill in
the middle through which the underworld figure Jackpot Chaminda
using a T56 gun had shot at the house.
I told Thilanga Sumathipala that I replaced this gate with a
new one that had no grill-work within a week of the attack. I
pointed out to Sumathipala that Bada Mahinda could not have known
about the gate with the grill that was there in 1998 unless he had
been physically present at the time of the incident.
Thilanga Sumathipala then accepted that this underworld gang
may have been responsible for the shoot out on my house. He
however said, “I want you to know that I had nothing to do with
this incident.” He then told me that he may now presently have
contacts with Dhammika Amarasinghe but at the time of this
incident he had no links at all with Dhammika.
I then told him about the information, which had surfaced
linking him to the killing of Baddegana Sanjeewa. He told me he
would not lie to me — that he was not involved in the murder of
Baddegana Sanjeewa but had been present at two or three meetings
where the killing had been planned. He once more asked me to trust
him and believe that he however had nothing to do with the shoot
out on my house.
A short while later he once more telephoned me on my phone
which reflected the telephone number of the chairman of SLT,
2334404. He said that he had used certain channels to check with
Dhammika Amarasinghe if indeed the latter had carried out the
shootout on my house and that Dhammika had admitted to having done
so. He then said that at the time Dhammika Amarasinghe was a
cohort of Anuruddha Ratwatte.
I asked Sumathipala if this is Dhammika’s position, when he
is making a statement will he say as much implicating Anuruddha
Ratwatte? Sumathipala replied that Dhammika would. “Yes, he will
say that.” he said.
I then asked Sumathipala whether he contacted Dhammika Amarasinghe after having spoken to me,
to which he replied, “Yes, through a certain channel I checked
He once more pleaded with me to believe him when he said he
had nothing to do with the shoot out on my home.
The next day, the 5th I left for Cancun in Mexico and
returned to the country on the 17th. I once more left the country
that night for New York and returned on the 29th. I thereafter
told some people about the two telephone conversations I had with
Thilanga Sumathipala a day prior to my leaving for Mexico. The two
people I spoke to in relation to this conversation were Waruna
Karunatilleke from the Free Media Movement and Editor, Ravaya
newspaper, Victor Ivan.
for passport fraud
the Immigrants and Emigrants (Amendment) Act, No. 45 of 1998, a
person found guilty of falsifying information in order to secure a
passport or forging a passport shall be deemed to have committed a
criminal offence. This section states that if found guilty such
person shall be imprisoned for a term not less than one year and
not more than five years and also pay a fine not less than Rs. 50,
000 and not more than Rs. 200, 000.
The same punishment applies to the facilitator of such an
offence. Which means for aiding and abetting such an offence, the
facilitator maybe served the identical punishment as the
Amarasinghe’s track record
Some of the murders and other
crimes Dhammika Amarasinghe was wanted for by police at the time
Thilanga Sumathipala sponsored his visit to the UK in 1999.
26.2.95 — Murder of Arambawelega don Indradasa Silva — (Soththi
Upali’s elder brother) killed at Grandpass
28.10.96 — Murder of Vithanage Sriyarathne at Colombo 14
6.6.96 — Murder of Hettiarachchi Asoka Priyananda Perera at
25.12.1994 — Murder of Kalinga Ajit Prematilleke at Borella.
Murder of one Jeevan at Thotalanga
1995 robbery of the Bank of Ceylon branch at Thihariya
1994 — Murder of one Lionel known as ‘polkade Lionel’
The CID is still investigating some 50 murders believed to
have been committed by Dhammika Amarasinghe.
Mahinda to confess again
The magistrate of the
Mount Lavinia Court is scheduled to visit the remand prison
where Bada Mahinda is being held and record a second confession
from the underworld figure.
a cent was paid for Sanjeewa’s murder —
figure who allegedly pulled the trigger on Baddegana Sanjeewa,
known as ‘Gala’ alias Udaya Kumara who is residing in the UK
had telephoned a businessman in Colombo following The Sunday
Leader exposes and stated that though Rs. 90 lakhs had been
paid for the killing according to the report he did not receive a
cent from Dhammika..
members on the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka in 1999
Thilanga Sumathipala - President
Anurudha Polonnowita - Vice President
Prasanna Ranatunga - Vice President
Saliya Ahangama - Secretary
Lawrence Amarasena - Assistant Secretary
Trevor Rajaratnam - Treasurer
Lucien Merinnage- Assistant Treasurer.