4th July, 2004  Volume 10, Issue 51

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SPOTLIGHT

CBK's Gestapo and witch-hunting

Ranjith Abeysuriya

Ikram Mohamed

G.G. Arulpragasam

Ravi Karunanayake

Chandrika Kumaratunga

Indra de Silva

C.E. Wedisinghe

By Frederica Jansz 

Police Chief Indra de Silva admits that on a specific request made by President's House he redeployed five police officers from their designated duties and instead demanded they serve under the Crimes Division to assist in probing an alleged criminal offence committed by former Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake.

De Silva said he acted on a Presidential order. The Police Chief admitted he did so with the knowledge that no presidential commission or committee had formulated a report and found incriminating evidence against Ravi Karunanayake.

"There is no report. When I got a request from President's House to investigate this, I told DIG Crimes to get these people working on it from the sports division. The request from the President came just a week or two ago." de Silva said.

Temporary appointment

The Police Chief added that this unit has not been formulated and legalised under any special gazette notification. "There is no need to do so - this is just a small unit to assist in this investigation." the IGP said.

In a nutshell these are the facts. This five member police unit was "formed" on May 11, 2004. The order to do so originated from President Chandrika Kumaratunga and was transmitted by the IGP via Radio Tele Message No. 133 on May 11th. In this message the Police Chief appointed five officers including ASP C. E. Wedisinghe, whose official duties consisted of serving as deputy director sports at the police sports division situated at Police Park, Colombo 5.

The five police officers were released to function as a special unit which purportedly comes under the DIG  Crimes, Jayantha Wickremaratne. The objective of the police unit is to assist in investigations originating from President's House on matters of bribery and corruption. The appointment of Wedisinghe and the other four police officers to this unit according to the IGP is temporary.

Curiously, the IGP claims he is unaware of the names of the members who sit on this mysterious presidential committee to probe matters of bribery and corruption. To the Police Chief, this committee remains faceless.

On what basis these surreptitious investigations are conducted, by whom, against whom and on what criteria nobody seems to know. Least of all the IGP. Other senior police officers including DIGs who spoke to us on condition of anonymity said they too are unaware who sits on such a committee if indeed one even exists. Nor are they aware on what basis Presidential orders originate to conduct a police investigation such as this one when no apparent committee or commission report appears to exist.

Political tool

That Sri Lanka's police force has long served as a political tool, bowing and scraping, fiddling the law to suit the whims and fancies of politicians in this country is a foregone conclusion. Much has been said about the issue to which there is little we can add other than to reiterate that this continuing state of affairs only further enhances Sri Lanka's image as a republic gone bananas. And that is putting it mildly.

The IGP himself is self-critical asserting, "the entire police force" not just a few officers but "the whole lot are incapable of conducting an investigation properly" and thus seriously compromise and jeopardise police investigations.

According to IGP Indra de Silva, Sri Lanka's entire police force over the last 30 years has lost the will and the skill to function as a law enforcement authority.

This is what he said. "What has happened here is this policeman (Wedisinghe) did not adhere to the correct way of doing an investigation. Not only this police officer but every police officer is like this. Over the last 30 years we have not been involved in doing investigations so they do not know how to do a proper investigation. All these problems are there. You should see the problems the police is having with the courts all because they do not know how to do a proper investigation. As a result everyday suspects are being released. For the last 30 years in this country police officers have been engaged in paramilitary work. In the 1980s police officers became soldiers. If you read any complaint written by a police officer that by itself is enough to throw a case away. To change this present strategy will require a huge amount of willpower. Unfortunately right now the will is elsewhere." (See box for full interview)

The IGP's comments were made in the face of the controversy surrounding the lease of a building at Vauxhall Street by the Consumer Affairs Ministry and the attempted arrest of Karunanayake by ASP C. E. Wedisinghe.

Wedisinghe appears not just to have blotted his copybook as far as Ravi Karunanayake is concerned, but also stained his track record even further by allegedly forcing under duress former Secretary, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Harsha Wickramasinghe,  into making a statement after having threatened him with imprisonment. (See box for affidavit by Wickramasinghe). It is on the strength on Wickramasinghe's statement obtained under duress Wedisinghe sought to arrest Karunanayake.

Failing in duty

The IGP voicing annoyance with regard to Wedisinghe's conduct in this case is also because the ASP according to the Police Chief apparently failed to inform any of his superior officers that he intended to arrest Ravi Karunanayake.

The IGP is already on record stating he personally was unaware of the impending arrest. And so too was DIG Crimes Jayantha Wickremaratne. The latter however was overseas at the time. Why Wedisinghe who is only an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) chose not to inform another superior officer of his intentions is not clear.

Before we touch on Karunanayake's merits or demerits in this case the overriding point that is of real relevance in this whole issue is that it is clear the police wittingly or unwittingly are being used not to enforce the law, but instead to victimise political opponents of the government.

Wedisinghe has learnt sooner rather than later that when a push comes to a shove, his back will not be covered by even his own colleagues and superiors. And this fact Wedisinghe's own chief, the IGP no less, stated in no uncertain terms when he told this newspaper that Wedisinghe has "messed up this investigation and did not adhere to conducting it in the correct manner." This statement if no other, uttered by his own chief, indeed, is a damning indictment on Wedisinghe.

When asked why the police is not following legislation with regard to conducting investigations the Police Chief in his interview with us dismissed a July 2003 police gazette notification as being there "merely for administrative purposes." But this is where the Police Chief is completely wrong.

We will draw the IGP's attention to the clauses in this Police Act which serves as guidelines and law for the police service.

On July 23, last year, this special police gazette identified the powers of police officers to handle matters concerning criminal breach of trust. According to this gazette, if the value of the subject matter does not exceed Rs. 3 million and where the offence is committed within the Colombo division the Colombo Fraud Bureau has the power to investigate. If the offence has been committed outside Colombo division the special crimes bureau or the district crimes bureau may investigate such an offence based on the directions of the officer in charge of the division.

If the value of the subject matter exceeds Rs. 3 million the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has to investigate. If the value is less than Rs. 100,000 the local police may investigate. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the event directions are given by the IGP the CID or any special unit may investigate such offences.

This gazette was ratified on July 23 last year but in effect since July 1, 2003, and serves as law for police officers to conduct investigations into offences concerning cheating, criminal breach of trust, obtaining property fraudulently, forgery, deception, falsification of accounts and other related offences.

Independence challenged

A special unit maybe thus formed under the directions of the IGP only in very special cases. But the IGP's own statement with regard to this particular case and police unit is self incriminatory. It is clear that not only was this unit established on an ad hoc basis, but apparently set-up for the purpose of politically targeting opponents.

The independence of this unit is thus easily challengeable. And the Police Chief knows it. If indeed it had been established under a special presidential committee to investigate matters of bribery and corruption why then does it not probe the fact that President Chandrika Kumaratunga herself ordered the lease of a five storey building belonging to Hatton National Bank (HNB) in Fort and paid out of public funds a sum of Rs. 16.5 million as annual rental without following any tender procedure or negotiating the rent money based on a government valuation.

Secretary, Public Security, Law and Order Ministry, Tilak Ranaviraja has conceded this fact. In a letter to us on June 30, 2004, in which he was responding to our lead story last week referring to this lease deal by the President, Ranaviraja states that the building in question was not leased out to house the Public Security, Law and Order Ministry.

He explains when he was Secretary, Information and Telecommunication Ministry he explored the possibility of moving out from the West Tower of the World Trade Centre where the Ministry was located due to the exorbitant rent paid by the Ministry. He says the Ministry called for quotations by publishing a newspaper advertisement.

Thereafter, a Ministry Tender Board he says decided that the HNB building located at Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 1 was the only suitable building offered by the bidders. However, the lease per annum was quoted at Rs. 21 million and Ranaviraja maintains that since this amount after negotiations with the HNB management dropped to Rs. 16.5 million he did not pursue the matter as it was still too high a rent for the Ministry to pay. The President however did not think so.

Ranaviraja states that while he was conducting negotiations with HNB, the Presidential Secretariat had requested two floors of this building for their use, in the event of the Information and Telecommunications Ministry leasing this building. Just before Ranaviraja left the Ministry he says "the subject file on this matter was called for by the Secretary to the President to enable him to negotiate for the rent of the building and the file was sent accordingly." Thereafter, Ranaviraja claims he was not aware of any further developments.

Another probe?

We have found after having spoken with a very senior official at HNB that the Presidential Secretariat did not re-negotiate the asking price for this building but instead paid the full sum of Rs. 16.5 million to HNB as annual rent. The transaction was conducted by President's Secretary, W. J. S. Karunaratne, who signed for and took over the lease as well as released the required sum of money to HNB.

Needless to say the requirements of the Media Ministry when renting a premises and the President's office will be completely different and begs the question why no tenders were called not to mention a government valuation, particularly when ownership of the building in question is held partly by an advisor to the President, namely Harry Jayewardena.

Now why cannot the IGP order that Wedisinghe and his special unit investigate this lease deal as well? After all, public funds to the tune of Rs. 16.5 million have been spent in this instance too, bypassing tender procedure as well as a government valuation. If the IGP requires a request from this special committee that is purportedly functioning to curb bribery and corruption then why doesn't this committee place country before self and begin a probe on this transaction too?

Plunder

We learn that the government valuer had in a separate letter to the bank stated the asking price of HNB for the building was too high. But irrespective of this assessment, Kumaratunga insisted the building be taken and rented to house her Secretariat. As we reported in our article last week the President herself personally inspected this building last month, which is situated diagonally opposite President's House, while she simultaneously kick-started discussions with HNB on the transaction.

In addition to this, the anti corruption unit or whatever name it chooses to call itself should also begin an investigation into why and how Mangala Samaraweera during his tenure as Information, Posts and Telecommunications Minister during the PA regime from 1994 to 2001 leased floors at the West Tower of the World Trade Center to house his Ministry in Ranaviraja's own words at an "exorbitant rent paid for by the Ministry."

Was a tender called? Was a Ministry Tender Board appointed who decided the plush floors at the World Trade Centre was indeed the best and most financially viable deal to house the Information, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry? Was a government valuation secured? If so, why did the then Ministry Secretary himself, Tilak Ranaviraja subsequently complain the rental for these offices at the World Trade Centre is "exorbitant?"

Why does not this unit or committee, if indeed established with the noble objective of fighting corruption, investigate how Mangala Samaraweera also during his tenure as Urban Development Minister spent Rs. 25 million out of public funds to refurbish his offices at the Ministry?

At the time, Samaraweera claimed over Rs. 25 million from the Urban Development Authority (UDA) as refurbishment charges for the office he patronised during his tenure as minister for the UDA.

For reasons best known to himself he saw it fit to purchase glass wash basins at a cost of Rs. 82,237.50.

He bought furniture from A. T. Cooray & Sons for a sum of over Rs. 300,000 and carpets from Delmege Interior D‚cor (Pvt) Ltd. for Rs. 678, 197.12. He also purchased art works from Suni Nirmalalingam for Rs. 291, 500.00.

Requests

Not satisfied with paintings valued at close to Rs. 300,000, Samaraweera paid an additional Rs. 225,000 to Diyabubula (Pvt) Ltd. for sculptures.

Plush authentic leather chairs for the minister to swivel in comfort cost over Rs.6 million. In order to ensure the final effect would justify an expenditure of Rs. 25 million, Samaraweera contracted the consultancy services of Nelu De Soysa Design Co. (Pvt) Ltd. at a cost of over Rs. 1 million.

He paid Athula Wijeratne nearly Rs. 2 million to demolish the existing furnishings at the Minister's office of the UDA. Wijeratne charged Rs. 1,068,581.35 to demolish the existing interior d‚cor. Access International (Pvt) Ltd was not left out. They were also paid a million bucks to redo the ceiling inside the former Minister's UDA office.

Now here is an air tight case for Wedisinghe and his enterprising henchmen to investigate. Or, since the IGP says such units are formed on a "request" made by the President, why then does not this ghost committee appointed by the President probe these massive misdemeanors as well? Isn't this cheating? Isn't this fraud? Isn't this corruption? Come, come, Madam President who, do you think you are kidding?

'Wedisinghe has messed up the case' - IGP

Below are excerpts of an interview on this matter with Inspector General of Police, Indra de Silva.

Q: How was this special police unit with ASP Wedisinghe established?

A: I don't know how this was established I had nothing to do with this special unit.

Q: But who made the initial request for police officers to be deployed to handle a special investigation of this nature? Was it the President?

A: The request came from President's House. I can't remember who signed the letter. Such requests are not unusual when such commissions and committees have detected a fraud or a matter of criminal offence. It is referred to the police for further investigation.

Q: Is there a committee report in relation to this case detailing such a criminal offence?

A: No. There is no report. When I got a request from President's House to investigate this - I told DIG Crimes to get these three people working on it from the sports division. The request came just a week or two ago.

Q: Who are the members of this purported committee that detected this offence?

A: I don't know who is there in the committee. We only get the criminal part of their findings into which we inquire.

Q: So is this unit of police officers a special presidential unit to probe acts of corruption?

A: No, this is not a special unit. This is a small unit. Wedisinghe together with some other officers were merely appointed by me to look into the complaints received by the President's House based on these committees and commissions appointed by the President. This is perfectly normal, there is nothing unusual about this. Wedisinghe was only asked to assist in this investigation, that's all. Even the CEB, the Wildlife Department, Millennium City, in all such cases they find some criminal act and requests were made for police to investigate and that is what we did and have done in this instance too.

Q: Are you aware if the members of this particular committee who probed the case against Ravi Karunanayake consisted of Mangala Samaraweera, Wimal Weeravansa and Kusumsiri Balapatabendi?

A: I don't know who the members are.

Q: Is this special unit of police officers an independent unit of the Police Department or is it a unit subservient to the Presidential Secretariat? Do they have to report to the President or any other government minister or member?

A: No, they report to their superiors in the police.

Q: Then why did you not know about the attempted arrest, nor had the DIG Crimes been informed by Wedisinghe that he intended to arrest Ravi Karunanayake?

A: Normally I don't have to be informed prior to an arrest. The DIG Crimes Jayantha Wickremaratne however should have been informed. But on that day he was out of the country. As far as I know nobody was informed.

Q: In this context then do you believe that ASP Wedisinghe acted with propriety and without malice?

A: What has happened here is this policeman did not adhere to the correct way of doing an investigation. Not only this police officer but every police officer is like this. Over the last 30 years we have not been involved in doing investigations so they do not know to do a proper investigation. All these problems are there. You should see the problems the police are having with the courts all because they do not know to do a proper investigation. As a result everyday suspects are being released. For the last 30 years in this country police officers have been engaged in paramilitary work. In the 1980s police officers became soldiers. If you read any complaint written by a police officer that by itself is enough to throw a case away. To change this present strategy will require a huge amount of willpower. Unfortunately right now the will is elsewhere.

Q: A police gazette notification of July 2003 specifically states that any offence exceeding the value of Rs. 3 million must be conducted by the CID. Why then was this case not referred to the CID?

A: That police gazette is only for administrative purposes. That does not apply in this case. It's not necessary to hand it over to the CID even the Special Investigation Unit can handle a case like this.

Q: When a special police unit is thus formed should not the magistrate in this case, the Fort magistrate have been duly informed by way of a 'B' report?

A: No why should he be informed? The policeman is empowered by the Police Ordinance - he does not need to inform the magistrate that he is functioning in any special unit.

Q: Have you responded to a letter sent by Ranjit Abeysuriya calling for an explanation on the conduct of ASP Wedisinghe?

A: I have not yet seen the letter. I met Ranjit Abeysuriya and he told me he has sent the letter, but I have been out of my office these last two days and have not yet seen it.

 *  *  *

BASL and the police

Charges are being levelled by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) that ASP C. E. Wedisinghe surreptitiously submitted a report to court claiming he was prevented from arresting Ravi Karunanayake MP by Professor G. L. Peiris, Rajitha Senaratne and a few others including attorney G.G. Arulpragasam. Also that Wedisinghe continued to make these charges to court despite a directive by the Inspector General of Police to withdraw them.

The contents of the Wedisinghe report charges Arulpragasam as a suspect in obstructing the police. This charge carries a penal sentence with imprisonment under Section 183 and 186 of the Penal Code and is a non-bailable offence. Having first lodged a complaint at the Thalangama Police on the alleged obstruction, but without leaving it to the Thalangama Police to conduct an investigation into the matter Wedisinghe forwarded a statement to court naming Arulpragasam as a suspect in obstructing the police.

When informed of this development, Arulpragasam got in touch with the President of the Bar Association, Ikram Mohamed, P.C., Deputy President Hemantha Warnakulasuriya and Secretary, Anoma Gunathilaka.

All the office bearers met at the Bar Association where it was decided that this is a very serious situation which affects the entire profession and the fundamental rights of an attorney-at-law when conducting his professional duty. Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, had then contacted Sirisena Herath, DIG Colombo who denied any involvement in this episode. Herath according to Warnakulasuriya had said that Wedisinghe never came under his direction or purview. No DIG in fact was prepared to accept responsibility for Wedisinghe's actions. Since no DIG was prepared to take responsibility for the actions of Wedisinghe, Warnakulasuriya contacted IGP Indra de Silva who had expressed deep concern.

Thereafter, it was decided to send a letter to the IGP detailing what took place in court and reiterating that Arulpragasam acted as an attorney-at-law within the rights of a lawyer in trying to protect his client from what he considered as an arbitrary arrest. The IGP had inquired into the complaint lodged by the Bar Association and thereafter directed the Director CID to instruct Wedisinghe to file a report in court that the police are not proceeding into the allegation contained in the Wedisinghe report citing  Arulpragasam as a suspect.

On June, 30, 2004, Ikram Mohamed and Hemantha Warnakulasuriya went to court and discussed the contents of a letter to be sent to the IGP thanking him for his prompt action. However, when the case was called a report was submitted through a junior police officer which revealed that Wedisinghe had acted in violation of the written directions of the IGP.

The contents of this report according to the BASL countermands the directive of the IGP when he specifically requested that Wedisinghe's original charge report against Arulpragasam be withdrawn.

Ikram Mohamed, P.C. told court that Warnakulasuriya had spoken to the IGP and been assured by the Police Chief that Arulpragasam's name would be withdrawn from the allegation made to Court.

Warnakulasuriya had then requested the Magistrate to keep the case down and had telephoned the IGP who expressed surprise at this turn of events. As this situation concerns the independence of the Bar and the right of its members to practice their profession it was decided that office bearers of the Bar Association should meet the IGP in person in his office.

The meeting took place at the IGP's office and after having seen the copy of the report filed in court that day, the Police Chief had immediately ordered DIG Thangavelu, Head of the Legal Division of the Police to proceed to court and inform court of the position of the IGP on this matter. 

When the case was called, DIG Thangavelu stated to Court that it was the opinion of the IGP that Mr. Arulpragasam had discharged his professional duty as required of him to do so and that he had not obstructed in anyway ASP Wedisinghe or the police party which went to arrest Mr. Ravi Karunanayake.  Also, that the police do not intend to act against Arulpragasam or to conduct any investigation against him. DIG Thangavelu further requested court to delete Arulpragasam's name from the report as a suspect in purportedly having obstructed the police in the discharge of their duty.

  *  *  *

Ranaviraja responds...

Editor
The Sunday Leader
1st Floor
C. C. C. Building
121, Sir James Peiris Mawatha
Colombo 02.

Dear Sir, 

CBK in controversial lease deal

Please refer to the page 1 leading story under the above caption which appeared in your newspaper of June 27th 2004.

I wish to inform you that your statement that her Excellency the President has ordered the said Hatton National Bank Building be leased out to house the Public Security, Law and Order Ministry is incorrect.

The correct position is as follows:

When I was Secretary of the Information and Telecommunication Ministry I explored the possibility of moving out from the West Tower of the Twin Building of the World Trade Center where the Ministry was located due to exorbitant rent paid by the Ministry with a notice for further increase of rent, in addition to payment for parking space and electricity etc. The Ministry called for quotations by publishing an advertisement in the newspapers (annexed) for this purpose. Thereafter a Ministry Tender Board (MTB), under the Chairmanship of the Additional Secretary, with Deputy Director Planning, Chief Accountant of the Information and Telecommunications Ministry and a representative from the Treasury was appointed.

The said MTB decided that the HNB Building was the only suitable building offered by the bidders but rent/lease of Rs. 21 million per annum offered by the HNB was high and negotiations at a very senior level, both from the Ministry and bidder must take place.

On the recommendation of the MTB, I negotiated with the Management of the HNB for a reduction of rent. The final offer given by them was Rs. 16.5 million per year and I did not pursue this matter beyond that.

In the meantime, the Presidential Secretariat had requested two floors of this building for their use, in the event of our leasing this building, as they needed additional space.

Just before I left the Ministry the subject file on this matter was called for by the Secretary to the President to enable him to negotiate for the rent of the building and the file was sent accordingly.

I am not aware of the developments thereafter until I learnt from your report referred to above.

I must stress that the Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order did not lease the above premises and I had no involvement in finalizing any lease agreement with HNB

I shall be thankful if you would kindly publish this reply in your newspaper of July 4th, 2004 and give equal publicity thereto as given by your news item.

Your sincerely,

Tilak Ranaviraja.
Secretary,
Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order.
 

*  *  *

The affidavit by Harsha Wickramasinghe

Harsha Wickramasinghe of 15/3, Barnes Place, Colombo 7 being a Buddhist do hereby solemnly sincerely and truly declare and affirm as follows:-

1.    I am 65 years old and I am a retired public servant with over 30 years of service in the public sector and I state the following from my personal knowledge and on my own free will.

2.    I was the Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Affairs during the period of December 2001 to April 2004.

3.      Without any prior notification, on 27th May 2004, ASP C. E. Wedisinghe and IP Ruwan Gunasekera came to my residence at approximately 10 am and requested me to make a statement in relation to taking on lease premises bearing 234, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2 by the Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Affairs on 21st June 2002.

4.    At the outset, ASP C. E. Wedisinghe and IP Ruwan Gunasekera stressed that there was sufficient evidence to arrest me for committing an offence under the Offences Against Public Property Act if I do not comply with their request to make a statement then and there.

5.    Under these circumstances, fearing for my wellbeing and freedom, I agreed to make a statement. ASP C. E. Wedisighe and IP Ruwan Gunasekera then proceeded to record my statement. During the recording of the statement, I informed them that I have been recently diagnosed as suffering from diabetes and had an appointment with my doctor at 1.30 pm on that day. However, this was disregarded by them.

6.    I was questioned for five and a half hours (10am to 3.30 pm) with no break or even an opportunity to have lunch.

7.    I was questioned by both ASP C. E. Wedisinghe and IP Ruwan Gunasekera in English and I responded to them in English. However, I noted that my statement was translated and transcribed in Sinhalese by IP Ruwan Gunasekera.

8.       Towards the end of the questioning, I began to feel faint and physically unwell due to the intense pressure of being continuously questioned for five and a half hours. I conveyed this to ASP C. E. Wedisinghe and IP Ruwan Gunasekera but they continued to question me. At the end of the questioning they instructed me to sign the statement without having read or explained its contents to me or giving me an opportunity to read it.

9.    I have now perused the documents filed in court by the police, and especially the summary of the statement purported to have been made by me. I was surprised and perturbed to note that the said summary contained statements not made by me as well as gross inaccuracies.

10.  Based on this, I believe that the statement of 27th May 2004 was translated and transcribed incorrectly by IP Ruwan Gunasekera. I therefore believe that it may contain references to the effect that:

(a)˙ the Former Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Ravi Karunanayake influenced and pressurised me to take on lease premises bearing 234, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2;

(b)  proper procedures were not followed in leasing the above premises.

11. I categorically state that:

      (a) at no stage did the former Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Ravi Karunanayake bring any undue influence or pressure on me to take on lease the said premises bearing 234, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2, and

      (b) that proper procedures were followed when leasing the above premises.

12.   I state that the said statement was obtained from me by ASP C. E. Wedisinghe and IP Ruwan Gunasekera under duress and threat of imprisonment.

      Signed and affirmed at Colombo on this 27th day of June 2004.

      Before me, Commissioner For Oaths K. Upendra Gunasekera, Attorney-at-Law, Notary Public & Commissioner for Oaths, 135-1/3, Goonasinghepura Office Complex, St. Sebastian Street, Hulftsdorp, Colombo 12, Sri Lanka.

 *  *  *

Call for IGP's explanation   

Chairman, National Police Commission, Ranjit Abeysuriya said, "I have called for a report from the IGP asking him to explain the officer's conduct of how he acted and under whose authority he did so."

The Police Commission Chief reiterated that Wedisinghe on the face of it appears to have acted incorrectly in the case involving Ravi Karunanayake. Abeysuriya further reiterated that even DIGs in the police force have voiced puzzlement with regard to this particular unit saying there seems to be no clear guidelines or objectives by which it has been established.

Abeysuriya however asserted the IGP is free to assign and deploy police officers to carry out investigations on any particular case. "The permission of the Police Commission is needed only when it comes to a transfer," he said.

Abeysuriya is of the view that this particular unit is "an ad-hoc one" put together for this case only. If, on the other hand, this same unit is to probe other cases as well then it cannot function in such an ad-hoc manner, Abeysuriya said.


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