24 May, 2019

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Arrest Of Another DIG Indicates A Serious Crisis In The State’s Machinery

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

DIG Lalith A Jayasinghe was arrested and is now being remanded for harbouring an offender and aiding the escape of the chief suspect Swiss Kumar, for the gang rape and the murder of 18 year old Sivaloganathan Vidya on 13 May 2015.  The DIG is suspected of having committed an offence punishable under Section 209 of the Penal Code. The relevant part of which is as follows;

“… Whenever   an  offence   has   been   committed,   whoever harbours,  conceals,  assists,  or  maintains  a  person  whome  he knows  or  has  reason  to  believe  to  be  the  offender,  with  the intention of screening him from legal punishment, shall,  if  the  offence  is  punishable  with  death,  be  punished with  imprisonment  of  either  description  for  a  term which  may  extend  to  five  years,  and  shall  also  be liable to fine;…”

This is the first time in Sri Lanka that a serving DIG has been arrested for a criminal offence. However, former DIG Vas Gunawardena was convicted and sentenced to death on charges of abducting and murdering a businessman. Former DIG Anura Senanayake was in remand over a long period and is now released on bail relating to the murder of rugby player Vaseem Thajudeen. Several ASPs have also been convicted or charged with serious criminal offences. A much larger number of OICs have also been convicted or charged with similar serious criminal offences.

The policing service is the premier law enforcement agency in Sri Lanka. Its basic task is to investigate into crimes and also to prevent the occurrence of crimes. The authority of this institution is now being seriously undermined by accusations of crimes being committed by some officers holding topmost high ranking posts within this important institution.

When things go that bad in an institution, which is of such prime importance, it is not enough to take criminal actions against particular offenders. It is necessary to scrutinize what has gone wrong with the whole institution. A policing system is monolithic system which operates on the basis of control from the top to the bottom. It is a strict system of command and control, and actions of the officers of lower ranks are entirely in the hands of officers of higher ranks. The system works on the basis of command responsibility which is a doctrine of accountability of superior officers regarding all others who act under their direction and command. This system can function only to the extent that the principle of command responsibility is respected and maintained within the organization. When officers holding topmost posts are being convicted or charged for serious crimes, what it indicates is that the entire structure of this institution is seriously contaminated and is crying for reforms.

Speedy actions to undertake such reforms is required not only to maintain the integrity of the institution but also to maintain the security of the people. When the people see that the protecting institution is itself contaminated and is led by some criminals, the only natural consequence to be expected is that they will have contempt, instead of confidence in this institution. The existence of such a situation is seriously damaging to the entire nation.

The state cannot maintain its authority, when the people lose faith in the basic institutions that constitutes the mechanism or the apparatus of the state. Crisis of policing is a crisis of the basic structure of the state in Sri Lanka.

No government can properly govern if the basic institutions of the state, such as the policing system are so badly damaged, to the extent that these institutions are incapable of delivering the basic services that they are designed to deliver.

The President, the Prime Minister, and the entire government have not taken a single step to ensure reforms in the important institutions of the state such as the institution of policing. That is what makes the talk on good governance just an empty talk.

Anyone who believes that there can be good governance in a country that has a bad policing system is suffering from serious and dangerous delusions.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    0

    Not only the Police all other places are full of corrupt people. The rot commenced in 1956 and continuing. Only SWRD took appreciable action when he appointed the Thalgodapitiya bribery commission six of his ministers were found guilty of bribery and punished. Now only the people of lower rungs of society get caught and others use influence and escape.

    • 3
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      All said and done, SWRD had guts! And conviction.

      • 3
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        How true kumaran! SWRD B had the guts to unilaterally abrogate the BC pact.

  • 5
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    They make mockery of the justice system and call upon foreign investments?
    It is this sad status we have with law and order in the country with both MR and RW/MS all the third players interfere with us.
    It is a sick joke.
    For stealing a hen, imprisoned for two years! What kind of justice is this?
    Robbing the county: 2000 Rupees.

    Sri Lanka has become a cocaine hub!

    When are we going to set up a political party with the assistance of Business community and the masses that in which we can get rid of all this nit wits and form a decent government and bring in a decent justice system by electing a decent bunch of human beings?

    Forget about foreign investments dumb asses, Start to invigorate our local businesses, Provide all the facilities to them. They will build this country. If they can run a business in this shit hole they are more capable than Warren Buffet to so business in SL!

  • 9
    0

    ” … A Serious Crisis In The State’s Machinery ..”

    What can we expect when the President of the country refuses to allow investigations into alleged war crimes, implying that anyone who wore a uniform in the armed forces, including deserters, are war heroes & when senior politicians who publicly state that minor crimes, committed by even Ministers, are acceptable?
    Obviously, the old saying, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is practiced well & truly in SL by not investigating crimes of VIP officials, the judiciary & politicians, therefore, they remain ‘innocent’ of any crimes which are most likely to be refuted as ‘unsubstantiated’. Maybe a few who are dispensable are sacrificed to keep the masses happy but even that is probably a whitewash & the likely outcome would be the cases being thrown out due to lack of evidence.

    There is no law & order in SL. We have rampaging mobs, which include monks who are supposed to provide spiritual guidance, openly inciting violence & high priests who condone their actions, while the Police encourage vigilantism, instead of clamping down on law breakers, irrespective of their religious or ethnic background.

    As long as there is corruption at the top, this cancer will remain, multiplying exponentially. Maybe corruption now is less rampant than during the previous regime but the current President & PM are not helping, or probably helpless, to crack the whip on corruption & injustice, which leaves us questioning the integrity & leadership of those who govern the country.

    • 2
      0

      Raj
      “current President & PM are not helping, or probably helpless, to crack the whip on corruption & injustice, which leaves us questioning the integrity & leadership of those who govern the country.”

      They promised during their election campaign to have the courage to resist the powerful force and bring peace but in the end they cheated the 6 million odd people who voted them and they aligned with the same forces that brought terror scared to speak against them and let down everybody including Mahinda Rajapakse to whom the President cheated accusing him and in the continuing whatever he did and so he merely stabbed him in the back after having praised Rajapakse till the last day and suddenly he woke like Rip Van Winkle and he saw how bad he was!

      They are all crooks, and until we go through colonial rule again we cannot recover!

  • 5
    0

    Tell me a day when Sri lanka was not in crisis. When you have 80% of the members of parliament without a GCSC certificate, there would be a crises. Leave aside the natural crises. How about the educational system when a degree holder cannot write or speak properly. Now the People of Amazon Forest are better educated than the people of Sri lanka.

  • 2
    0

    There is no national feeling about Sri lanka from the Tamils although they are Sri Lankans. Why because there is a crises between the Sinhalese and the Tamils and for that reason there will be crises always in Sri lanka

    • 0
      0

      But a black coated Northern legal eagle in the know says that when it comes to crime and profit there is plenty of national feeling
      between the S’s &T’s, and mentions the close nexus between a former Tamil dean of the Faculty of Law with budding political ambitions and Sinhalese his pupil who held an important position in the Jaffna police force until he was shunted out elsewhere because of Swiss Kumar and that if the Trial-at- bar judges take the trouble to examine this aspect minutely including the political involvement of a female MP then Vidya would have got justice.

  • 1
    1

    [to the extent that these institutions are incapable of delivering the basic services that they are designed to deliver.] Ohh Little one; you are again! Try to be little honest before you criticise the state, man!

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
    0

    Basil Fernando: “Arrest Of Another DIG Indicates A Serious Crisis In The State’s Machinery”
    Understatement. It is well past a point of no return. The police the world over has become an organization to protect the privileged – this is glaringly the case in SL.
    Remember the SP who investigated the 2004 Tsunami aid-money transfer was later charged in courts and fined! A culture of impunity was allowed to proliferate. Vas Gunawardena and Anura Senanayake were products. A temporary dent exposed them but they are out on bail.
    In the Vidhya case, DIG Lalith A Jayasinghe did what was used to doing.
    There is the structure which will protect the wrong doers. Will take a while to dismantle this structure.
    Unfortunately the “reformers” are finding this difficult and so adopting the easy way out “If you cannot defeat them, join them”

  • 2
    1

    It is the political balance that is causing the arrests, not the judicial balance. When the judicial balance operates, most of the politicians, judges, public servants will be behind the bar.

  • 5
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    Sri Lanka is suffering the consequences of a Police state where law and order was put aside for a considerable period of time and the will an fancies of politicians ran supreme.

    The top brass of the police and politicians scratched the back of each other and that lawless attitude and the perception that they were above the law trickled down.

    Now we have police not just accused but even charged including chain snatching. Still we have guys bragging about a 2500 year culture and a Sinhala Baudha Supreme race. LOL

  • 1
    1

    Police may be the premier law enforcing authority. However there are other various law enforcing authorities who fail to carry out their duties honestly. The enforcement of laws are subject to the amount of bribes they are offered. Eg. Municipal Council, Urban Development Authority, Condominium Management Authority,National Housing Development Authority and other innumerable Local Authorities all over Srilanka. If all these law enforcing authorities do their duties without fear or favour Srilanka will be a better place to live and the premium law enforcing authority could concentrate on more important matters. .

  • 1
    0

    Basil Fernando,
    Thank you for questioning the structural intergrity of the SL institution like the police force.

    I sincerely hope your article will prompt smart patriots like Dr.DJ to follow his father’s Mervyn de Silva
    and interview the DIG s under arrest.

  • 2
    0

    What a shame ? The majistrates and judges are under threat from criminals in Jaffna . Who are behind these shooting at Mr.Illanchelyan’s vehicle ? Or with who is supporting these shootings ?
    Looks like soon there is going to be a coup to take over the power.

  • 1
    0

    Basil, what about misappropriation of funds, is that also a crime?

  • 0
    0

    Former Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Vavuniya Police U.K. Dissanayake was also arrested
    for allegedly involved in illegal treasure hunting in Vavuniya in 2015

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