The alleged death threat levelled on Anika Wijesuriya’s family after her testimony at the Bond Commission with reference to a powerful former minister and Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjun Aloysius in connection with multimillion rupee property transactions, came to the spotlight again following a fundamental rights petition filed by Shanil Nethicumara and a B report filed by the Criminal Investigation Department.
VERBATIM TRANSCRIPTION OF THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION
Shanil: Yeah Bro.
V.W. : Yeah machang. Sorry men, the line was quite bad. What’s up?
Shanil: Wha… What’s up is machang, uhhh… you’re my friend, no?
V.W.: Yeah, sure. What’s up?
Shanil: Machang, what you did to my uncle machang, I will… You know... With interest I will give all you … Remember that.
Shanil: What you did to my uncle Ravi machang, I will repay with … interest. Remember that.
V.W.: You will what?
Shanil: I’ll come, I will… What you did to my uncle machang…
Shanil: You know Machang, in two thousand one machang, who gave your … uncle, who gave your father machang, that post. But what y’all did, I thought you were my friend. So now machang, I’ll… Openly telling you… I’ll give you a open threat… Don’t get caught to me because I will definitely hit all you … with a bottle. All of you.
V.W.: Ok. So is, I uhhh…
Shanil: Don’t get caught to me. I’m telling you, don’t get caught to me. I’ll thrash all you … Don’t get caught to me machang, you’ll….
Shanil: Y’all made six hundred million rupees from Uncle Ravi’s apartment complex. Now machang let’s play the game. I’m telling you. Be careful, ah. I won’t tell you again. Shut the … up and cut the phone.
VW: So are you saying that next time you see me…
[End of Recording]
The CID after recording a statement from Wijesuriya on the instructions of the Commissioners of the Bond Commission had filed a B-report at the Fort Magistrate’s Court (B 7357/ 17). The B Reports filed by the CID in this case provide details of efforts taken to locate Nethicumara, visits to several addresses and interviews with witnesses familiar with his whereabouts. According to the B Reports, it appears that the CID too had noted the telephone conversation between Nethicumara and Ms. Onella Karunanayake that took place moments before the recorded threatening phone call, and had indicated that further investigations into this offence are continuing.
The voice recording, which has now surfaced regarding the alleged threatening phone call made by Don Shanil Lakkika Nethicumara to VijithaWijesuriya, brother of Anika Wijesuriya, in which the former is clearly heard saying that he will “give with interest” to the Wijesuriya family for what they (Wijesuriyas’) have done to his ‘Uncle Ravi’. The recording states as thus, “What you did to uncle, with interest I will give you all…. remember that”.
In the recorded call, according to the ‘B’ report, Nethicumara is also heard swearing to “thrash all of you” and warns the Wijesuriya family, “don’t get caught to me.” He explains his words by clearly stating that he is ‘giving an open threat’, which is in retaliation to how the Wijesuriya family acted after making hundreds of millions of rupees ‘from Uncle Ravi’s apartment complex.’
This recording was also mentioned in a submission made by Vijitha Wijesuriya to the Supreme Court as the 4th respondent to the Fundamental Rights application (SC FR 388/ 17) filed by Nethicumara on October 30, 2017 seeking an interim order preventing the CID from arresting him. The FR petition by Nethicumara was however dismissed by the Supreme Court on November 28.
In his limited objections, Vijitha Wijesuriya also made reference to a copy of Nethicumara’s telephone records that was attached to the Supreme Court petition.
“It’s also evident that just before I returned the call of the Petitioner he had yet again spoken to Miss Ornella Karunanayake for 2 mins and 8 secs at 10.36 p.m. and only thereafter answered my call at 10.39 p.m. and proceeded to threaten me and my family with harm in retaliation to my sister testifying about the affairs of Miss Karunanayake’s father,” said Wijesuriya in his sworn affidavit to the Supreme Court.
According to Nethicumara’s application, he had come to know about the allegation now levelled against him, through the media as to how Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda PC, had informed the Bond Commission on October 17, 2017 that he had made death threats against Anika Wijesuriya
Request to attest affidavit refused
According to a person familiar with this matter, since Wijesuriya could not obtain consular support by the Sri Lankan High Commission in Singapore, he flew to Colombo in the wee hours of October 24 (Friday), signed the affidavit before a Commissioner for Oaths, and then left the country again a few hours later. It is learned that this was done in order to meet the Supreme Court deadline for filing objections. The affidavit, with attached documents and several audio CDs containing the audio recording, were submitted to the Supreme Court by Wijesuriya’s lawyers later that same morning.
In the original Fundamental Rights petition submitted to the Supreme Court by Nethicumara, he pleaded that he is faced with the immediate threat of being subject to an unlawful arrest under the Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act No: 4 of 2015.
Incident at night spot
In his petition, Nethicumara had stated that he hadn’t had any contact with Wijesuriya, who is the 4th respondent, since 2014 until he met him on or about October 14, 2017 around 1.30am, at the Love Bar night spot at 58A, Horton Place Colombo 7. He charges that Wijesuriya, appearing to be under the influence of liquor, jumped out from behind a curtain and a started a quarrel with him over a personal matter. He has added that Wijesuriya had pulled him by his collar, threatened and insulted him in abusive and expletive language near the club washroom. According to Nethicumara’s application, although he was provoked as a result of the behaviour of the accused, he hadn’t sought to retaliate and managed to escape from the club where the dispute occurred.
In his submission, he had further stated how he telephoned Wijesuriya the same evening around 10.34pm on his mobile for the sole purpose of chastising him over his conduct at the Love Bar. According to the FR application, Nethicumara categorically denies that he threatened Wijesuriya in respect of Anika Wijesuriya’s evidence at the Bond Commission, or that he has ever threatened anybody over the telephone.
According to Nethicumara’s application, he had come to know about the allegation now levelled against him, through the media as to how Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda PC, had informed the Bond Commission on October 17, 2017 that he had made death threats against Anika Wijesuriya. Later on the same day, Nethicumara had lodged a complaint with the Cinnamon Gardens Police against Wijesuriya for assaulting and threatening him at the night club on October 14,
Nethicumara further states that he was surprised how a personal dispute has been deceitfully manipulated by Wijesuriya and other interested parties into an allegation of threats to a witness before the Bond Commission.
According to the affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, Wijesuriya categorically denies the allegation of an altercation of any sort with Nethicumara prior to the threatening phone call, and posits that the petitioner fabricated the entire incident to muddy the waters and impede his arrest. “It appears that he waited for 10 days after the alleged incident (24/10/2017) to request a copy of the CCTV footage from the Management of the Love Bar, waited for 4 days after the alleged incident (17/10/2017) to lodge his first complaint at the Cinnamon Gardens Police Station regarding the alleged quarrel, altercation, or brawl with me and made no reference whatsoever regarding this alleged quarrel, altercation, or brawl that took place at Love Bar on the 14/10/2017 during the telephone conversation I had with him at 10.39 p.m., just hours after the incident is alleged to have occurred,” pleaded Wijesuriya, who submitted the audio recording as further evidence that Nethicumara didn’t make any mention of the events he describes in his petition while
making the call.
The petitioner states that he believes and is reliably informed that the accused hadn’t lodged a complaint with the police nor with any duly authorized authority at the time the Additional Solicitor General made the submission to the Bond Commission against him, which practice was highly irregular. He further states that he verily believes that the five respondents – the IGP, Director CID, OIC (Special Unit) CID, VijithaWijesuriya and the Attorney General have taken into account, an extraneous consideration and are attempting to arrest and prosecute him, without any reasonable grounds and without any material which would justify the same.
He further believes that the night club where the ‘brawl’ occurred is owned by a friend of Anika Wijesuriya and there is a possibility of an attempt to destroy the recordings of the CCTV footage that could transpire the brawl that occurred on October 14. However, Wijesuriya pointed out that Nethicumara had waited over ten days before asking for these recordings, after which period many commercial CCTV recording systems have recycled their storage disks and lost older recordings.
Unable to hear
Although Nethicumara states that he believes Wijesuriya hadn’t lodged a complaint either with the Police nor with any other authorized authority at the time the Additional Solicitor General informed the Bond Commission against him, the Daily Mirror is in possession of the complaint lodged by Vijitha Wijesuriya, Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into the issuance and Disposal of Treasury Bonds, S. Udugamasuriya on the morning of Monday, October 17, 2017, the first day on which the Commission sat following the incident on Saturday night.
In his complaint, Wijesuriya states as thus, ‘When Mr. Nethicumara first called me at 10.34pm, I was unable to hear him clearly as his voice was garbled. It sounded to me like he was shouting and the call got disconnected due to a bad mobile connection. Again I received another call from Mr. Nethicumara at 10.35pm, and the mobile connection was very poor and I could not hear him and the call got disconnected once again. I then attempted to call him back and his number was busy. I finally spoke to him at 10.38pm, and the conversation lasted a little over a minute.
“When I returned his call, I did so with my phone on loudspeaker mode while setting up another mobile device to record the conversation. While his voice was slightly garbled on that occasion too, Mr. Nethicumara appeared clearly and said ‘what you did to my uncle machang I will kill all you….
Following this complaint, on the instructions of the Members of the Commission, Secretary S. Udugamasuriya on October 17, had written to the Director CID, SSP, Shani Abeysekera (Ref: PC/ CBTB/ Order) to take necessary action against those who were involved in the alleged threat under Section 8 and 9 of the Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act No: 4 of 2015 and to provide protection to the Wijesuriya family with immediate effect under Section 24 of the same Act and to keep the Commission informed on the progress of the directives by October 26.
In the original Fundamental Rights petition submitted to the Supreme Court by Nethicumara, he pleaded that he is faced with the immediate threat of being subject to an unlawful arrest
Meanwhile, on October 18, Anika Wijesuriya in an e-mail to the Director CID had stated that she had to leave the country the day after she was testified. Her letter further states as thus, “I am eager and willing to corporate with the investigation into this matter while I am overseas. I could provide written answers via e-mail to any questionnaire submitted to me by investigators, or make myself available to give a statement in person if investigating officers are in a position to travel overseas to record my statement”.
In the affidavit submitted with his limited objections to the SC by Vijitha Wijesuriya on Friday October 24, he catergorically denies the averments contained in the petition and responding further, states that he briefly visited the Love Bar in Colombo 7, on October 14, 2017 with two of his friends. According to the statement, during the period when Wijesuriya was at the Love Bar, he dadn’t met the petitioner nor had he any knowledge of the fact that the petitioner was present. ‘I therefore vehemently deny the contention of the petitioner that I initiated a quarrel, altercation or brawl with him or had any interaction with him whatsoever. “I state that the petitioner has preferred his application in bad faith and has attempted to mislead Your Lordship’s court in attempting to cover up the factual incident which took place as more fully described in this affidavit,” Wijesuriya has said.
Through the affidavit, Wijesuriya categorically denies the averments contained in the petition and states that on October 14, 2017 around 10.34pm and 10.35pm, the petitioner attempted to call him on his mobile phone, but however was unable to have a conversation as the line wasn’t clear. Wijesuriya in his affidavit had stated that he had produced the mobile phone and the recording device that was used during the communication with Nethicumara to the OIC (Special Unit) CID as evidence to the
Supreme Court Dismisses Nethicumara FR Petition
The Supreme Court, comprising a three-judge bench, on tuesday(Nov.28) refused leave to proceed in the Fundamental Rights Application filed by Shanil Nethicumara pleading for an interim order to preventing the CID from arresting him on the allegations of threatening to attack Anika Wijesuriya’s family in retaliation to Wijesuriya having testified against former Minister Ravi Karunanayake at the Bond Commission.
President’s Counsel Saliya Peiris, appearing for Nethicumara, argued that the telephone call between Nethicumara and Vijitha was being taken out of context and said that it had anything to do with former Minister Ravi Karunanayake, but was related to a previous relationship between Nethicumara’s sister Lakshi, and VijithaWijesuriya.
At the conclusion of the argument, the three-judge bench comprising Justices Eva Wanasundera, Buwaneka Aluwihare and Anil Gunaratne, ruled that there were no grounds to allow leave to proceed, and dismissed the application filed by Nethicumara.
President’s Counsel Saliya Peiris and Danushka Rahubadda instructed by Sanath Wijewardene appeared for petitioner Shanil Nethicumara. Deputy Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne appeared for the Attorney General, IGP, Director CID and OIC of CID Special Branch. Counsels Asthika Devendra and Dinusha Mohan, instructed by Lilanthi De Silva appeared for the fourth respondent VijithaWijesuriya.