Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday issued notice on the Secretary to the Public Security Ministry S. Hettiarachchi to appear before Court and make submissions regarding his failure to comply with the two recommendations made by the Attorney General to transfer Senior DIG in charge of the Western Province Deshabandu Tennakoon and to take disciplinary action against him.
The Magistrate also instructed the Criminal Investigation Department to obtain a statement from Hettiarachchi pertaining to the incident.
Meanwhile, four suspects including MP Sanath Nishantha who were arrested and remanded in connection with the unrest on May 9 opposite Temple Trees and at Galle Face, were released on bail by Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday.
They were released on two sureties of Rs.10 million each. The Magistrate also imposed a travel ban on them.
When the case was taken up, Senior Deputy Solicitor General Dilan Rathnayake informed that 28 suspects have been arrested pertaining to the incident. He also stated that 767 statements including the former Prime Minister were recorded in connection with the matter.
He further stated four senior police officials had handed over their official and personal mobile phones to the Criminal Investigations Department following Court orders.
SDSG Dilan Rathnayake further highlighted that they received the psychiatrist reports pertaining to a statement made by suspect Johnston Fernando at the Temple Trees to the effect of “let’s get rid of this (the protest sites) if the President cannot”, on the day of the attacks.
He also pleaded to name Moratuwa Municipal Councillor Pradeep Sriyantha Fernando, Sajith Saranga and Thusitha Sampath Nanayakkara as the suspects of this case. He stated that Thusitha Sampath Nanayakkara and Pradeep Sriyantha Fernando are currently avoiding their residential addresses and adding that the remaining suspect ruggerite Sajith Saranga had left the country.
Accordingly, the Magistrate named those three individuals as the suspects of this case and imposed travel ban on them.
“The investigation into whether the Senior DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon and other officers had neglected their duties in connection with the incident has been completed and sent to the Attorney General. It has been revealed that 42 officers were present at the Zoom discussion held on the morning of the incident( May 09). Also, statements have already been recorded from 25 officials who participated to that meeting”, SDSG added.
President’s Counsel Anuja Premarathne appearing on behalf of the Parliamentrian Sanath Nishantha Stated that the offenses which had been filed against his client were bailable.So, He pleaded to release his client under any suitable bail condition.
He further stated that his client has been in remand custody for one and a half months now and his client had learned a good lesson from this incident.
President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya representing the aggrieved party informed the Magistrate that the second mastermind character behind the attack was Senior DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon. He further stressed that the Galle Face attack had planted the seed for the situations that arose in the country on May 9.
He further stated the Criminal Investigation Department has not been able to arrest him till today. Inspector General C.D.Wickramaratne had earlier stated that he does not have the power to transfer a Senior DIG, and such action should be taken by the Public Services Commission,” he added. PC Upul Jayasuriya emphasized that the question arises as to why the law that applies to public does not affect the police. “He will not be arrested because of his image.Who is pressuring him not to be arrested?,”he further added.
He requested the Magistrate to name Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon as a suspect in this case. PC Maithree Gunarathne appearing on behalf of the aggrieved party informed that Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon sent a letter to the CID on May 23 commenting on a statement made by the IGP. The SDIG mentioned on his letter that the statements given by him and the IGP were contradictory and asked for the opportunity to give them statements again.
Magistrate: Has such a request been made?
Criminal Investigation Department :Yes sir
Magistrate: Why are these not reported to Court?
PC Maithree Gunarathne further stated that the day before the incident, at the ‘Zoom Meeting’ it was clearly stated that these people should not be beaten.”DIG Champika Siriwardena who was supposed to report for duty that day did not even report for duty. He was also present at the meeting. The IGP asked for the transfer of Deshabandu Tennakoon and requested the Public Security Ministry Secretary to conduct a disciplinary inquiry. No action was taken”, he added.
Magistrate: Has a letter been sent?
CID: Mr.Tennakoon has requested to be given another chance as he has been treated unfairly by the media.
Magistrate: Produce that letter to court.
Attorney Hafeel Farisz who appeared for Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Deshabandu Tennakoon denies the allegations. Relevant files have been referred to the Attorney General. The Attorney General will make a decision on behalf of his client.This Court has no jurisdiction to make him as a suspect until the Attorney General expresses an opinion on behalf of his client.
Magistrate: The attention of the court has been drawn to that meeting. If there are recordings of that meeting, submit them to Court. It is reported that DIG Champika Siriwardena has not reported for duty. Record statements from him.
Magistrate – Has Deshabandu Tennakoon also asked the DIGs’ of Colombo North and Colombo Central to make re-statements that the IGP has made contradictory statements regarding the instructions of the May 23 ‘Zoom Meeting’?
Replying to that, the CID stated that they need to check it.
The Magistrate observed that the CID has not taken into consideration regarding the notes made by the DIG of the CID Thilakarathne. The Magistrate also ordered them to obtain a statement from DIG Thilakarathne regarding the incident.
The Magistrate also directed the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security to make submissions regarding his failure to comply with the two recommendations made by the Attorney General to transfer Western Province SDIG Deshabandu Tennakoon and to take disciplinary action against him.