When Cops and a Robber take you for a Ride!

15 February 2018 12:00 am - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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JB-xxxx,1999, 5Door, Flat Roof, Full Option, Auto, A/C, TV Dual Air Bags, in excellent condition. For sale Tel 077 082 33 62.

This was an advertisement that appeared in a newspaper. Many would get excited after seeing this advertisement because there were many who had purchased this vehicle, but no one had the opportunity to use it.   

The above advertisement appeared in a newspaper on the  February 12, 2017. There had been many callers who inquired about this vehicle. Rizvi Ahmed from Galle was one. The owner of the vehicle had been one Danuka. Ahmed had been told that Danuka was an architect. The original price of the vehicle had been Rs 3.5 million, but Ahmed was able to negotiate and bring the price down to Rs 3.3 million. Being convinced that a vehicle of this type and condition for the agreed price was really a bargain Ahmed arrived in Kadawatha the next day (February 12). Danuka too arrived by the said vehicle at the agreed place in Kadawatha with the documents of the vehicle. The vehicle was in mint condition with only the front tyres appearing to be slightly worn out. The seller agreed to provide Ahmed with two new tyres if he purchased the vehicle. So finally it was agreed to sell the vehicle for Rs 3,275,000.  

Ahmed who was much excited decided to take the vehicle on the same day to make his family happy. He informed the seller that he had to withdraw money from a Bank in Gampaha. After dropping him at the Bank in Gampaha Danuka had told Ahmed to come with the money to the Gampaha Kachcheri where he had to meet the GA regarding some matter. When Ahmed arrived with the money Danuka was there at the Kachcheri premises seated in his vehicle. The deal was finalized inside the vehicle which was in the vehicle park of the Kachcheri. With the exchange of documents Danuka had handed over the vehicle and excused himself saying that he had an appointment with the GA and remained at this place. Ahmed drove off in the vehicle.

He found no tyres as informed near the office and the GA was not present in his office. Ahmed called Danuka, but there was no reply. When he returned to the vehicle park he had the biggest shock of his life! 

After driving some distance Ahmed received a call from Danuka saying that he forgot to give him the two new tyres and for him to collect them from the GA’s office. Ahmed greatly appreciating the kindness extended to him by Danuka and returned to GA’s office. Parking the Vehicle at the vehicle park he hastened towards the GA’s office. He found no tyres as informed near the office and the GA was not present in his office. Ahmed called Danuka, but there was no reply. When he returned to the vehicle park he had the biggest shock of his life! The vehicle he cherished was missing. The documents relating to the vehicle and some other documents had all been inside the vehicle. Ahmed was speechless and could not think of anything.  


  • The original price of the vehicle had been Rs 3.5 million, but Ahmed was able to negotiate and bring the price down to Rs 3.3 million
  • He made a thorough search in Gampaha assisted by one of his brothers for any clues about the vehicle
  • While the days passed, Ahmed came to know of a school principal who had experienced a similar incident
  • Hearing this episode related by the principal, Ahmed realized that he had been swindled by a mass-scale robber

He continued relating his story saying that as there was no alternative, but to lodge a complaint at the Gampaha Police Headquarters, which he did. He made a thorough search in Gampaha assisted by one of his brothers for any clues about the vehicle for several days. While the search went on for the missing vehicle there was no response when they phoned Danuka.   

While the days passed, Ahmed came to know of a school principal who had experienced a similar incident. On meeting him he had related his story to Ahmed.   

The principal had seen an advertisement in the newspaper and responded with a telephone call. The seller had identified himself as an Engineer. The principal had visited an area in Kaduwela to inspect the vehicle. He was satisfied with the condition. After making the payment and finalizing matters with regard to documentation the principal had started to drive the vehicle when he received a call from the seller who had said, “there is a brand new set up I purchased for the vehicle. It is with a lecturer employed at the campus. On your way go and get it. I have already spoken to the lecturer and he will give it to you”. The principal had driven the car towards the private university in Malabe and after parking the vehicle had gone to meet the lecturer. To his surprise he wasn’t there and when he returned he found the newly bought vehicle missing.   

CCTV footage   

On examining the footage in the CCTV camera, fitted at the university, it showed the so called engineer, who sold the vehicle, opening the door of the car and driving away in it.   

Hearing this episode related by the principal, Ahmed realized that he had been swindled by a mass-scale robber. It was too late when he had realized what had happened by which time he had lodged complaints at various police stations all over the island.   

The thief behind all these robberies had been a suspect taken into custody on 29th November 2009 by the Western Province Intelligence Unit on charges of stealing a vehicle. After being taken into custody he had been detained at the Borella Police Prison Cell. He had escaped from this cell following a carefully executed plan.   

While detained at the Borella Police Prison Cell he had waited until the police officers had fallen asleep. Using the blade of a hacksaw, he had smuggled into the cell, with the help of a labourer at the police station, and had cut two iron rods of his cell daily. A mobile phone battery charger, he had stealthily smuggled into his cell, was assembled to short circuit when plugged into the mains. He had during the dead of the night one day plugged it to the mains. His action had plunged the entire police station into darkness. Using this opportunity, and the broken iron rods, he made his escape. The Police tried all methods to apprehend him, but failed. The suspect continued to be involved in various types of rackets. He was a mastermind behind faking documents for vehicles after stealing them and reselling them. After selling the vehicles he stole them again using a key which he had crafted. This way he resold vehicles to gullible buyers. He continued this racket and the police were unable to apprehend him.   

Ahmed did not give up easily. He continued his hunt for the man who had robbed him of Rs 3.3 million. He visited most of the places which were suspicious and whenever he read about someone being apprehended over the theft of vehicles he was there to see whether the arrested person was the one who defrauded him. His searches led him to a police unit in the Kalutara District . He related full details of his story to the OIC of the unit, who promised to keep Ahmed informed of similar events. Ahmed noted down the telephone number of the OIC.   

The principal had driven the car towards the private university in Malabe and after parking the vehicle had gone to meet the lecturer. He wasn’t there and when he returned he found the newly bought vehicle missing

Habitually he scanned through advertisements appearing in the newspapers to locate any similar ads that could hoodwink buyers. On 30th April 2017, as luck would have it, he noticed a similar advertisement. The details in the advertisement had several similarities to the advertisement that had put him in trouble. The only thing new was that there was a different telephone number. He then requested a woman, a relative of his, to call the relevant telephone number. While the conversation was in progress he recognized this voice as that of the one who had robbed him. The woman had indicated to the seller that her husband had sent the money from abroad and she was in a hurry to buy the vehicle and fixed the following day (May 1) to complete the transaction.   

A dangerous person   

Ahmed accompanied by some friends, who were employed by the Navy and the woman, travelled by a van to Aluthgama. Fearing that the suspect might be in possession of weapons Ahmed attempted to brief the HQI of Gampaha Police about his intentions using his phone. He tried to contact the inspector at the HQ and after his attempts were futile he phoned the Kalutara OIC on the number he had obtained from the police officer. The Kalutara OIC cautioned Ahmed that the suspect is a dangerous person and he might be in possession of weapons. He had further said that he could get his money back and asked for Rs 300,000. 

Ahmed had thought for a while as he had already spent more than Rs 200,000 searching for them. He had then told the police officer to arrest this suspect quickly as he might escape again. “The OIC asked me to wait till he sent a team to accompany me before I went to meet him. Later four persons in civvies arrived at the site in a three wheeler. One agreed to travel in the same three wheeler while the other three agreed to travel in the van with me and the woman. A close friend of mine who was in the navy posed as a brother of the woman. They both pretended that they had come by bus and alighted at Aluthgama before going to meet the suspect. The suspect arrived in the same vehicle he had sold to Ahmed. The suspect got the woman and the Navy person to board his vehicle and drove towards the main road. Turning into a by-road he drove very fast.The three wheeler followed them without being noticed by them. One of my friends who accompanied us videoed the movement of these vehicles from a vantage point in the Aluthgama town. The vehicle driven by the suspect stopped near a Villa in Aluthgama. 

On examining the footage in the CCTV camera, fitted at the university, it showed the so called engineer, who sold the vehicle, opening the door of the car and driving away in it

The police officers in civvies immediately sprang upon this suspect and arrested him. My friend had videoed all this. A police officer who noticed this grabbed his phone and erased the video footage. When asked why he did this the police replied that they (the police) were doing something illegal. The police said that they were trying to help us. The police said that they had wanted to check whether there were weapons inside the vehicle, but they found none. Then they went inside the villa to the room the suspect said he was staying at. I noticed the bag in which I carried the money to hand over to the suspect. There were about 3-4 lacks of rupees inside. The police took that money and then brought him to the Police unit in Kalutara,” said Ahmed.
   
Police raid Villa   

Ahmed continuing the story said, “At the time he inserted this advertisement in the newspapers he had booked in at this villa, taking it on rent for four days. He had also hired a watcher. The owner of the villa is a local politico and on that day he had gone to attend the May Day rally. On his return when he had learned about this incident he had visited the Bentota Police and lodged a complaint. In his complaint he had stated: “I am renting out my house and rooms and on 29th April someone identifying himself as Prabath wanted to lease out the entire house for three days. Visiting the place on 29th he paid an advance and returned on the 30th in a white van and paid the balance. Then I handed over the keys. When I was at the May Day rally, I received a call from a nearby restaurant saying that the gentleman who was occupying my house had been taken away after being handcuffed by the police for stealing a vehicle. I am lodging this complaint for my own safety.” The Kalutara Police unit wasn’t aware of this complaint. The police who were engaged in the act of looking for the suspect at the villa were videoed by another friend of Ahmed, unknown to the police.  

The thief behind all these robberies had been a suspect taken into custody on 29th November 2009 by the Western Province Intelligence Unit on charges of stealing a vehicle

When the suspect was brought to the police unit he had accepted that he had taken Rs 3.3 million from Ahmed. The police had then told the suspect that if he returned the money to me they would charge him for a minor offense. The suspect had then said that the money was at his house and he would give it. However the police hesitated. The OIC had said, “Going at this time is difficult. We’ll go in the morning”.   

When Ahmed had called the OIC the next morning he had responded by saying that he had to attend to some other matter. He had then said that the suspect’s house is in Kottawa, Mattegoda and had requested Ahmed to come to Kottawa. He had arrived in Kottawa around 09.30 Am with another friend. The OIC had kept them waiting in Kottawa till 08.00 PM holding out various excuses. The OIC had then arrived with a police team accompanying the suspect.   

Police frustrate Ahmed   
“The police came in the vehicle of the suspect and asked us to follow them.We did as we were told and when approaching Mattegoda Road the OIC told us to stop the vehicle. He then told us that the suspect’s wife and children were at home and if they saw a crowd they would get scared. He then asked me to drop my friend and come alone. I drew the van alone and followed the police vehicle. Suddenly the vehicle in which the police were travelling gained speed and turned into a by lane and vanished. I failed to spot them. When I took a call to the OIC’s telephone, he wanted me to come to Namal Uyana Housing Complex, saying that the suspect was misleading them and not showing the house. The police frustrated me and led me astray.   

“On the following day the OIC said that they (The police) had visited the suspect’s house, but despite a search they did not find any money. The Police continued to dodge me even though I visited them daily. I visited the police unit on 05th May and the police introduced me to a woman who was there saying that she was the wife of the suspect. She told me that she would obtain the money from a brother in New Zealand and pay me. I continued visiting the police unit except on 11th and 12th of May as they were Wesak holidays. When I called the OIC on the 13th he said that the suspect had been remanded. When I inquired about my money he replied that as agreed by the suspects wife the money would be refunded. 

A police officer who noticed this grabbed his phone and erased the video footage. When asked why he did this the police replied that they (the police) were doing something illegal. The police said that they were trying to help us  

“That day’s newspaper carried a news item saying that the suspect had been taken into custody by the Kalutara Police Unit, in Panadura while trafficking in drugs. He did not have any drugs in his possession, but we were the people who handed him to the police. We visited the police unit again on 17th May, but the OIC wasn’t present. Realizing our predicament in the face of police trying to evade us, we visited the Kalutara DIG G.K. Perera who handed over this matter to the ASP. The ASP wanted us to come and inform him if no action was taken. As advised we visited the OIC and found the ASP and the OIC talking with the woman who was introduced to me as the wife of the suspect. This woman refused to pay back the money. When I mentioned about the promise she made to pay me the money, the OIC and the woman remained silent. I informed the ASP that I do not have a receipt to prove that I gave the money to the suspect. The ASP told me that the suspects signature is available in the police records and for me to prepare a letter forging this signature. I point blank rejected this suggestion saying that I do not engage in this type of forgery.” Ahmed lamented.   

By this time the tyres of the vehicle had been replaced and the DVD player was removed. Finally Ahmed lost the money and the vehicle. There was no alternative place left for him to plead for redress. He complained to the Police Head Quarters and to the Police Commission. He even complained to several politicos, yet Ahmed had not received any response.   

The above is the story of the sad plight of Ahmed. What this writer has penned as his story are only the essential parts of a discussion that lasted more than five hours.   

Fake entries   
Our investigations over the past four weeks reveal that it began with the Crime Unit demanding Rs 300,000. That is why the police deployed four officers to arrest the suspect in Aluthgama. The suspect was apprehended and handed over to the police by Ahmed and his group in Aluthgama area on 01st of May 2017 . The police made fake entries saying that the suspect was arrested while trafficking in drugs in Panadura. By surreptitiously hiding evidence he was remanded until May 12. The suspect had been kept under detention at the police station until this day.The police records state that the suspect was arrested on May 12 in Panadura.   

An investigation into the details of telephone conversations Ahmed had with the OIC of the Police unit, reveals that Ahmed had been in constant communication with the OIC, beginning from May. There are more than ten oral evidence and written ones to prove that the suspect was actually arrested in Aluthgama. The complaint lodged by the owner of the villa at the Bentota police on the day of the arrest of suspect is clear evidence of this arrest taking place in Aluthgama. These police officers may not be aware that video footage, which shows the police body searching the suspect at the Villa in Aluthgama, exists. Adding to this there is also evidence to prove that the said vehicle remained parked at the Panadura Police Station on May 1.   

These police officers may not be aware that video footage, which shows the police body searching the suspect at the Villa in Aluthgama, exists. Adding to this there is also evidence to prove that the said vehicle remained parked at the Panadura Police Station on May 1

After arresting the suspect the police had promised Ahmed that they would get back his money, but even after remanding the suspect and thereafter the police had been dodging Ahmed. A closer study of what the police said and how they behaved in dodging Ahmed points out to one thing; it is apparent that the Rs 3.3 million promised by the suspect to be returned to Ahmed at the outset had been taken by the police. At the time of the arrest the money that was in the bag and identified as belonging to Ahmed had also not been accounted for. The police are responsible as they are aware to whose pockets the money had gone.   

Ahmed did not lose his balance during this whole period. He had had a firm belief that he was fighting against all odds. He never gave up.   

There may be many others in society who would have endured this type of experiences. When officers who are entrusted with the duty of safeguarding the laws of the land violate and bend them with ulterior motives, what will be the recourse available for the ordinary people?   

An investigation by the Police Special Investigation Unit has now commenced. Now it is time that the fraudster, the ASP and the police team, and all those who attempted in concealing this incident and fabricating evidence to be taken into custody. Failing which there will be more individuals like Ahmed falling prey to these robbers and keeping quiet.    

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  Comments - 4

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 
  • Cristo Thursday, 15 February 2018 01:19 PM

    A land like no other !

    Jaliya Thursday, 15 February 2018 03:55 PM

    Completely agreed ... and some are very proud of it.

    Don Thursday, 15 February 2018 04:53 PM

    Good job revealing this crime. This sort of thing happens all the time. The police takes sides with the crooks to get paid by them.

    Ravi S Saturday, 17 February 2018 05:06 PM

    There is no law and order in SL. When police officers are also involved in crime, who do people trust? This is very disheartening. The corruption has become the norm of the society. We salute journalists who have courage to report these incidents.


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