By Yoshitha Perera
On the day Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen, the controversial doctor attached to the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital was released on bail, former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen had made a phone call to the former SSP in charge of the Kurunegala Division without a reason, it was informed before the PCoI probing Easter Sunday Attacks, on Saturday.
Testifying before the Commission former SSP of Kurunegala Division Mahinda Dissanayake said that there was no reason for former Minister to make such a call and it led to suspicion.
“On the evening of that day, when Dr. Shihabdeen was released on bail, former Minister Bathiudeen called me and asked me, “Are you well Mr. Dissanayake? Are you happy now?”
“I have doubts over this call,” the former SSP said testifying before the Commission.
When the Commission questioned the witness whether he felt that former Minister Bathiudeen spoke in a threatening manner, the witness said that the former Minister did not know him personally before and there was no need for him to contact the witness.
Thereafter, Counsel Ravishani Peiris representing Cardinal Malcom Ranjith questioned the former SSP about the findings related to Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen.
Responding to the question the witness said that the Police had checked the bank accounts of Dr. Shafi and found that Rs. 40 million had been transferred to one of his bank accounts.
“On May 22, 2019, filing a B report, I informed these facts to the Court but we could not trace the exact location where the money had come from,” the former SSP said.
When the Police were recording statements from Dr. Shafi, he informed that he was receiving hundreds of thousands of rupees as funds from Indians and Pakistanis of Arab descent to his private medical centre at the Kurunegala Town and Dr. Shafi did not want the Police to ask further questions related to those funds, the witness added.
“Meanwhile, information was revealed that Dr. Safi had medically prevented the Sinhala women conceiving and giving birth and there were several allegations in that regard. We recorded statements from the Hospital staff as well and it was informed that once Dr. Shafi had also attempted to change the identity of a child born in the hospital and give it to another mother,” he said.
Witness further added that by that time Dr. Shafi had performed about 8,000 caesarean operations on mothers and Dr. Shafi was arrested after a statement was recorded from him, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
“ We took a list of case production from his private medical centre and the CCTV recording DVR of his private medical centre too was seized. On the following day, CID and TID officers took those case productions into their custody. But it was later revealed to me that the DVR had been given back to Dr. Shafi in violation of the case disposal procedure. Many CCTV footage had been deleted from the DVR,” the witness said.
The former SSP further added that after the Easter attacks there were riots in the Kurunegala District and it was during that time, he came to know about Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen.