Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has ordred the suspension of investigations into the suspects, and their links, of the robbery of cash and goods worth Rs. 365,582 from Bread Talk restaurant near Eye Hospital Junction in the Maradana police area.
According to reports reaching us, this is what has happened:
Finance manager Amila Thushantha Silva on June 27 lodged a complaint with the crime investigation division of Maradana police that Bread Talka at no: 525, Union Palce, Colombo 02 had been broken into from the rear and Rs. 220,582 in cash in its safe, a laptop worth Rs. 75,000 and containing the restaurant’s menus and another laptop worth Rs. 70,000 had been stolen.
Soon after receiving the complaint, the crime division began investigations. Upon checking the CCTV cameras installed inside and outside the restaurant, it was found that two persons, with their faces fully covered and wearing caps, jackets and gloves, had arrived in the place. One of them had gone inside and had disconnected power supply to the CCTV recorder near the safe.
They had made their getaway from the same staircase which they had used to enter the restaurant. They had dropped chilli powder on the staircase and the thereabouts in order to get police dogs off their scent.
OIC of the division had then gone to the CCTV camera division on 6th floor of Colombo DIG’s office and checked the recordings, which showed that a Montero jeep had dropped the two men in question and after the robbery, they had got into the same vehicle and left.
Therefore, police were convinced more persons, other than the two men, were connected to the robbery. Since the two had knowledge about combination number and the key to the safe, police surmised that the two robbers had been, or are still, employees of the restaurant.
With the assistance of telecommunication tower signals, police further gathered that one P. Niroshan Samaratunga of Bowala, Nawathalwatte, Alawwa, who had been sacked from the restaurant, had come from Alawwa to Colombo on the day of the crime and left for Alawwa early morning on the following day.
He was arrested in Alawwa town, and upon questioning had told police that two men named Lolitha and Mahesh were also involved. Lolitha had driven the jeep and Mahesh has brought the vehicle. The trio had shared the stolen money, while one laptop is with Niroshan and the other with Lolitha, according to his confession.
This Mahesha is the driver of Achala Bogollagama, the private secretary to north western province chief minister Dayasiri Jayasekara. Also, Yatila Wijemanna, the son of Achala, had been the former managing director of Bread Talk, and after he had left the place, he had asked Mahesh to rob or do some other damage to the restaurant.
Police recovered one of the stolen laptops and several electrical appliances bought using the stolen money from the home of Niroshan. Then, police took Lolitha Waniganetti of Gemunu Place, Bloomfield Estate, Malkaduwawa, Kurunegala and found in his possession the other laptop and clothing bought using the stolen money.
Lolitha is the son of the sister of police constable Lekamlage Upul Ratnasiri Bandara, a bodyguard for Dayasiri Jayasekara. Police had then gone to arrest Malinda Mahesh Bandara, the third suspect, at the home of Achala Bogollagama, at no: 1/3, Flower Avenue, Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo 07, but no one had been there at the time. Later, police visited the home of Achala’s son Yatila, at no: 1/5, Mahanuga Udyanaya, Kollupitiya, Colombo 03.
There, they had arrested Malinda Mahesh Bandara, of no: 285/5, Rammutugala, Narammala, who is the brother of Dayasiri Jayasekaras’ bodyguard Upul Ratnasiri Bandara.
Under interrogation, the suspect has revealed Yatila had been married to the owner of the restaurant, Ragwell Yaseen, and has now filed for divorce. Due to this divorce case, several employees had been sacked from the restaurant, and Yatila had told them that on the day of their dismissal, they should smash glass panes and cause damage to the place.
He has also said the Montero jeep used for the crime, owned by Achala, is parked at the lottery printing press owned by her at Battaramulla. Goods and clothes bought using the stolen money had been found from a room at Yatila’s home. Police had then gone to no: 41, Kanatta Road, Thalapathpitiya to seize the jeep, but it had not been there.
As Police had then gone to the home of Yatila to find goods bought from stolen money, Achala had telephoned the OIC of the crime division and scolded him for having taken Mahesh in handcuffs to her office and to her son’s home, and said she would be at the son’s home in a few minutes.
In the meantime, Dayasiri Jayasekara has telephoned the OIC of Maradana police and abused him in filth, warning him not to teach him about criminal law since he is a lawyer. “I will not take this lightly. I will tell the defence secretary and send all of you home.” Dayasiri has also accused police of having sided with Bread Talk for money, and reminded the OIC m that Yatila too, is a rich man.
Anyhow, the OIC has telephoned Yatila and told him to come to the police station to give a statement. Dayasiri has once again called and said he wanted to know the legal basis for the necessity to record a statement from a person not mentioned in the ‘B’ report. He has threatened the OIC, saying “You will not know what will happen to you.”
Without heeding his threats, police recorded a statement from Yatila and told his mother Achala to handover the jeep in question to police, which she has not done so far. The three arrested suspects were produced before the Maligakanda magistrate under B 28563/14 on 08 July and were remanded until July 11. Despite the availability of clear evidence of aiding and abetting a crime and the possession of stolen goods, police have failed to produce Yatila before courts due to political pressure. When the case was taken up on July 11, the three suspects had pleaded guilty and were given bail. It is to be taken up for hearing again on October 03. The defence secretary, at the request of Dayasiri Jayasekara, has instructed the IGP to withdraw the case before that date.
After this incident, the defence secretary has got Yatila appointed a director of a company owned by Dhammika Perera, the notorious casino businessman.
Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has been forced to withdraw the disciplinary inquiry he had planned to conduct against DIG in charge of Kalutara district V. Indran on a charge of neglect of duties after he had refused to release 13 suspects arrested in connection with attacking and ransacking Muslim shops in Aluthgama town on June 15, say police headquarters sources.
The IGP was to hold a disciplinary inquiry against DIG Indran, who had disregarded the order to free the 13 suspects given by defence ministry adviser Maj. Gen. Kapila Hendawitharwana and head of the State Intelligence Service, C.N. Wagista, and also described as completely against the law a request by senior DIG Gamini Nawaratne made at the insistence of Bodu Bala Sena at a meeting on June 16 in Kalutara chaired by the prime minister.
The defence secretary had ordered the IGP to conduct a preliminary investigation, and he had given an order to senior DIG in charge of the north western province Jagath Abeysiri Gunawardena to hold the inquiry.
Accordingly, DIG Gunawardena made arrangements to hold the preliminary investigation at the Police Field headquarters hall on June 30 and ordered SSP Quintus Raymond (director, environment directorate), SSP Palitha Siriwardena (in charge of Colombo Central), SP Ranaweera (director, CID), DIG Senaratne (Aluthgama, Beruwala in Kalutara), and DIG V. Indran, to be present to give evidence.
Soon after receiving the letter containing the order, DIG Indran has called the IGP and told him that he would reveal everything he knows at the inquiry and also file a human rights case in the Supreme Court.
The IGP has immediately informed the defence secretary about this. Obtaining prompt advice from the chief justice, the defence secretary was told that a case before the Supreme Court will reveal to the world about the accuracy of the exposure made by MP Mangala Samaraweera.
As such, the disciplinary inquiry against V. Indran has been suspended, and the defence secretary has ordered the IGP to take some other action against him.