The sudden and unexpected transfer, based on promotion, of the director of the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), with immediate effect, to Monaragala District last week had raised eyebrows in many political circles, Daily Mirror learns.
The FCID director, SSP Anura Premashantha who was promoted to the rank of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in mid December 2016 had been transferred to Monaragala District with immediate effect on Friday, December 23, 2016, Police Headquarters sources revealed yesterday.
Premashantha who received his promotion to the rank of DIG after winning a Fundamental Rights petition after stagnating as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) for a long time had reported for duty as DIG (Monaragala) on Monday, December 26.
According to the Police Department’s procedure, a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) would necessarily be the director of any given special police division or functional division countrywide. In some cases a Superintendent of Police (SP) could also hold the position due to the unavailability of a suitable SSP.
It is a regular practice that if one of these SSPs (director in charge of a special division or a functional division) is promoted to the rank of DIG he is transferred to a different posting that demands the requirements of a DIG -- such as being in charge of one of the functional districts countrywide or as DIG in charge of a particular police division.
But, in rare cases, if the promoted DIG is a highly competent officer who has acted as the director of a particular division, he is kept on as the director of that particular division at least until a suitable replacement is found.
With the sudden transfer of Director Premashantha, the FCID is crippled with no suitable officer to fill the vacant top post, which has temporarily been filled by one of the division’s Unit ASPs -- Pavithra Dayaratne -- as acting director.
Daily Mirror learns that the promotional transfer of SSP Premashantha had been referred to the National Police Commission for consideration by the Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara, despite a special written submission made by Ravi Waidyalankara, the Senior DIG in charge of the FCID, to retain DIG Premashantha under him as he’ is the most officer officer for the post.
Civil society groups fighting against the corruption of previous regime -- who had worked hand in hand with the FCID -- assert that the transfer was a politically motivated punishment, as it is not entirely against the practices of the Police Department to retain an officer promoted to the rank of DIG in his former posting.
The present directors in charge of the Presidential Security Division (PSD) and the State Intelligence Service (SIS) had been promoted to the rank of DIG from SSP sometime ago but they still remain as directors of their respective divisions.
Director PSD SSP G N Gunaratne and Director SIS SSP Nilantha Jayawardena, who were promoted to the rank of DIG, remain in their former postings as they are competent until such time as a suitable SSP is found to replace them, the sources said.
Concerned sources in civil society groups against corruption, as well as certain senior police detectives, maintain that the transfer was a politically motivated punishment as he was such a prominent top grade detective and he was tranfered to a mere interior functional district like Monaragala without even a suitable replacement.
Director Premashantha was the only senior officer who was up to date with all the top classified intelligence data and had access to all the corruption files of over 30 top politicians of the previous regime and who had initiated the move to refer 66 high-profile investigated cases to the Attorney General, the sources said.
Premashantha who was posted as the Director of FCID since February, 2015 when he was ASP, was given a double promotion to the ranks of SP and SSP at once in early 2016 after a Supreme Court decision.
He had to file an FR case in the Supreme Court in 2012 after waiting several years without being promoted to the rank of SP under the previous regime.
Informed sources told Daily Mirror that a secret tussle between IGP Jayasundara and SDIG Waidyalankara would have been instrumental in the transfer that could have been given the green light by a top state office.
Attempts made to get through to DIG Premashantha for comment was unsuccessful last night. (Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana)