The Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has launched an investigation into the activities of the senior police officers, who were in charge of the Deraniyagala Police Division during the period gangsters led by former Deraniyagala PS Chairman Anil Champika Wijesinghe alias Athakota were alleged to have committed their atrocities.
Police spokesman Buddhika Siriwardena said the SIU would look into the negligence of duties by the senior police officers.
At a meeting on Sunday the villagers of Basnagala and Noori Estate accused the police of turning a blind eye to atrocities including robbery, murder, rape, and arson that was committed by the gangsters for a long time. They charged that the infamous Athakota’, a former PS chairman was acting with impunity.
Several crimes had come to light after the brutal slaying of Estate Superintendent Nihal Perera. At Sunday’s meeting attended by top police officers and the STF, the villagers alleged that the police had failed or refused to take any action against ‘Athakota’ and his gangsters who were being protected by Sabaragagamuwa Chief Minister Maheepala Herath.
Anil Champika Wijesinghe alias Athakota was a member of the UPFA and was Pradesiya Sabha Chairman from 2007- 2011 after receiving the ‘highest’ number of preferential votes during the election.
Villagers said the political patronage provided by Chief Minister Maheepala Herath and his son Kanaka Herath had resulted in police inaction.
Meanwhile informed sources questioned the summoning of ASP of the Seethawaka range D.J Athulathmudali to Ratnapura on Tuesday by Sabaragamuwa Province Senior DIG Lalith Jayasinge. Sources suspicion of moves to ‘cover up’ the ongoing investigations into the atrocities committed in Noori- Deraniyagala.
When contacted by Daily Mirror ASP D.J. Athulathmudali confirmed that a meeting was held but denied any attempt of a cover up.
“I went to meet the Senior DIG for a service requirement and it had got nothing to do with the ongoing investigations,” he said.
Earlier it was reported that Senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe had summoned six Police OICs for a meeting, a week after the killing of the Noori Estate Superintendant Nihal Perera.
During the meeting attended by the Chief Minister and local politicians, the Senior DIG had reportedly told his subordinates that the Police were “duty bound to protect the local politicians present”.
The entire village on Sunday signed a petition urging the President and Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to take action against the perpetrators.
In the petition, the villagers referred to the political patronage provided by Chief Minister Maheepala Herath to Athakota. (Susitha R. Fernando, Hafeel Farisz, Darshana Sanjeewa)