25th July, 2004  Volume 11, Issue 2

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NPC inquiry into CJ's case 

By Frederica Jansz 

National Police Commission (NPC) Chief, Ranjit Abeysuriya said he has ordered for statements to be recorded from police officers conducting the fact finding inquiry into the case involving Chief Justice Sarath N.  Silva.

Abeysuriya's action is in response to a letter sent by President's Counsel Desmond Fernando who has complained against the conduct of senior police officers attached to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). Fernando, who had accompanied Chief Inspector C.V. Weerasena to the SIU, charges that SIU Head, SSP E.L.L. Amarasekera and SP Roshan Fernando had attempted to coerce Weerasena into saying that the person he has identified to be the Chief Justice inside a parked car with a young lady is not he, but a man of very dark complexion, who had a pot belly and moustache.

Fernando has charged that when he accompanied Weerasena to the SIU, Fernando  and  Amarasekera shown CI Weerasena the front page of the Ravaya newspaper of July 11, which carried a photograph of the Chief Justice and told him that the police constables who had been involved in the incident had stated this photograph was not the photograph of the person they found in the car on the night of July 6 at the Nagahamulla area in Diyawannawa. They had said the male in the car has been described by the constables as a person who was very dark in complexion, had a pot belly and a big moustache. Fernando maintains that Weerasena was told by the senior officers that if he could say the same thing they will not put Weerasena in trouble and that they would close the file.

In the light of this charge Police Commission Chief Abeysuriya said a statement from CI Weerasena will be recorded first by the commission and thereafter two statements taken from the police officers concerned at the SIU.

Abeysuriya however ruled out the possibility of taking this investigation away from officers serving under the IGP and placing it under the direction of the Police Commission. "That, we cannot possibly do," he said, explaining, "this is merely a fact finding inquiry and we cannot act on that request."

Desmond Fernando in his letter had requested for Abeysuriya to appoint a person without any bias to handle this fact finding exercise under the direction of the Police Commission.

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