Five days before the parliamentary election the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration which has seen its popularity plummet in recent months moved to arrest former CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekera, a police official that the regime has had in its cross-hairs since it won the November 2019 poll.
Incongruously Abeysekera has been arrested by the Colombo Crimes Division on charges of fabricating evidence in a 2013 case which resulted in the trial and conviction of the bent copper DIG Vass Gunewardena. A High Court trial at bar found the DIG guilty of accepting a contract to murder the businessman Mohamed Shiyam in Bambalapitiya in May 2013. At the time when Abeysekera arrested two rival businessmen, Mohammed Fauzdeen and Krishantha Koralage, the pair confessed to contracting DIG Vass to abduct and murder Shiyam. Abeysekera arrested Vaas Gunewardane DIG in June 2013 and charged him with Shiyam’s murder. In November, the former DIG, his son and four police officers under his command were sentenced to death by the High Court for the contract killing of Shiyam. It was an open secret at the time that Vaas Gunewardane had high-level protection from the Rajapaksa regime which was defeated in January 2015. DIG Vass Gunewardena appealed his conviction in the Supreme Court and in 2019, a five judge bench of the highest court of the land upheld his conviction by the Trial-at-Bar. Vaas Gunewardane, a DIG was running a contract-killing squad as a side show to police work, and he enjoyed protections of the highest order. On multiple occasions during the investigation, Colombo Telegraph learns that Gotabaya Rajapaksa, then Defence Secretary under his brother Mahinda’s presidency, sought to interfere with the investigation and prevent Vaas Gunewardane’s arrest and trial.
For eight months President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has tried to find a way to arrest Abeysekera who was removed as CID Director within days of Rajapaksa assuming office as President. A coordinated witch-hunt against Abeysekera, a decorated Special Task Force soldier, began in earnest after the presidential election. The Rajapaksa administration launched between 20-30 investigations regarding Abeysekera’s conduct, in order to arrest and charge him, Colombo Telegraph learns.
There are murmurs in upper ranks of the regime that once Abeysekera is behind bars on any pretext the regime can manufacture, his life would be in danger from various criminal elements he has put in prison during his policing career.
Activists are gravely concerned that Abeysekera’s life could be in serious danger while he is in prison.
Sources told Colombo Telegraph that Abeysekera’s arrest in connection with the Vass Gunewardane conviction and investigation is aimed at ensuring the road is paved for the bent police officer to be granted a presidential pardon following the parliamentary election. The charges of fabricating evidence will then lead to similar manipulation of evidence charges in the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra murder investigation in order to allow President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to pardon his former favourite Duminda Silva, who was convicted of the murder. “This is the first step towards that goal,” a senior police officer told Colombo Telegraph. “By throwing doubt on Shani’s murder investigations they can work on getting the murderers out of jail.”
The senior police officer now retired complained that Abeysekera would not find much support from political actors who swept to power in 2015 pledging to investigate murders and abductions when the Rajapaksa administration was last in power. “Shani was just doing his job. He was investigating. His investigations revealed dangerous things for the current president and it is essential to Gotabaya Rajapaksa that Shani is discredited and his investigations are exposed as frauds” the police officer, now retired told Colombo Telegraph speaking on grounds of anonymity.
Before he was interdicted under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Shani Abeysekera had served nine years at the CID under several presidents. Abeysekera has had FBI training, and is known as Sri Lanka’s top sleuth, responsible for cracking complex murder cases. His meticulous investigations have often left little work for prosecutors. Abeysekera led the investigation into the Royal Park murder, which was prosecuted by no less than the serving Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya when he was at the Attorney General’s Department. Shani Abeysekera has more than two dozen murder convictions under his belt during his work at the CID.
In fact when Abeysekera’s stellar career at the CID was rewarded and he was appointed Director CID, then Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, who now serves as the country’s top judge, paid a glowing tribute to the police officer.
““The quality of investigations he has carried out to-date has always been exceptional,” said Attorney General, Jayantha Jayasuriya told a newspaper in an interview, encouraging junior CID officers to “follow in Shani’s footsteps”, “adding that in his personal experience, the burden on prosecutors was substantially eased by Shani’s “marvellous and comprehensive investigations” and detail-oriented approach to interviewing suspects and witnesses alike.”
Shani Abeysekera remains one of the few Sri Lankan police officials to graduate from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation’s elite FBI National Academy in Virginia. Early in his police career, Shani joined the Special Task Force and underwent rigorous paramilitary training before being deployed at various camps throughout the Eastern Province.
Ironically, Shani Abeysekera’s sleuthing and counter-terrorism credentials were so solid that he led investigations into the failed assassination attempts on the lives of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka and former defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa himself.
The current President’s ire against Abeysekera goes down to his leadership for investigations that have hit too close to home for Gotabaya Rajapaksa, including the Lasantha Wickrematunge assassination, the Keith Noyahr abduction and torture, the Prageeth Eknaligoda disappearance case and the Wasim Thajudeen murder investigation. Abeysekera’s investigations have also led to trials against Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s acolytes including Nissanka Senadhipathi who was gun-running using Sri Lankan government weapons with Gotabaya’s blessings and Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda who has been accused of murder in the Navy abductions case.
Bernard / July 31, 2020
yes a lot of stuff happening.. gamini senarath out, tiran alles out, today avant guard case suspended, witness in thajudeen case dead another with a terminal illness, lasantha’s case fizzling out, lalith weeratunge out soon? its a tragedy that Ranil & Co, the AG, Sajith & Co do or say nothing about all of this. A mockery of justice that has already been served. Whats in store for all of us? commissions galore by the day but not one person convicted. I am ashamed that all of us are compelled to stand and watch and can do nothing except comment. I do hope that by some miracle the grassroots of our country will wake up on the 5th.
Rajash / July 31, 2020
“I am ashamed that all of us are compelled to stand and watch and can do nothing except comment.”
In Hong Kong pro democratic activist as young as 15 years old are standing up to the mighty China!
SJ / July 31, 2020
But there is a mighty power encouraging the ‘pro democratic activists’ even to destroy public property.
Eagle Eye / August 1, 2020
Boris Jonson has told that he is opening the door for Chinese in Hong Kong who are being ill-treated by China to come and settle down in UK.
Demalu in Sri Lanka who are grumbling that they are being ill-treated by racist Sinahala Buddhist fascist supremacists should request Boris Jonson to open the door for them because Brits abandoned them in Sinhale and ran away in 1948.
Momentous20 / August 1, 2020
Tamils know when to get the door opened.
Kanapathy Varunan / August 4, 2020
Will any purpose be served by Maintaining a Court of Law?
Ajith / July 31, 2020
This is what you expect from Mahinda Family. Criminals become hero’s and non criminals become traitors. If you are against to corruption, murder of Mahinda family you are a traitor or LTTE. Since they have the backing of Malwathe it is the law of them.
Ashan / July 31, 2020
Yes, sounds like the Rajapaksa’s are back in business again. We have to blame the Sirisena/Wickremasinghe regime for once again failing the country and the people, by not investigating and holding guilty scoundrels accountable for the above crimes. I guess some were too busy putting out the bond scam fires. Our future does not look very good, our democracy will be eroded, and the most corrupt family in Sri Lanka beg, borrow, steal, and even kill, to keep their dynasty going.
Be prepared for some dark times.
rj1952 / July 31, 2020
My motherland has now got a prima donna kallathoni war criminal of a president who shows off to the world that he’s the next Buddha, his qualities surpass those of the already mentioned.
he proudly boasts that he’s nothing but a peace-loving soft-spoken in broken English gloats that he is a 100% full vegetarian does not consume eggs or any byproduct of the cow.
When he was appointed as the secretary Ministry of Defence he played many a bandu of a pandu in spearheading many an unsavoury act where he was the mastermind in the killing of many an innocent Tamil soul.
He then began the world-famous white van syndrome were those whose conduct he did not approve were fed alive to his much suffering bullied wife’s pets by being unceremoniously dropped into the tanks to be devoured by the sharks who were being maintained and accommodated at the great cost to the starving no food to eat malnourished mangy looking starving masses.
Before that having an inferiority complex against the now Field Marshall Fonseka he had him arrested and jailed him for a few years after a boru hour judgement meted out by the kallathoni’s own shady corrupt loyal military swabasha goons.
rj1952 / July 31, 2020
In frustration that matters are just going the way as planned on the election front, the afraid rats of the witless thuggish Rajapuka’s have got the uniformed police loyal to them to arrest the well-acknowledged well-reputed CID senior SP Shani Abeysekera at an unholy hour this morning.
By behaving in this indecent cowardly pariahs are trying to send a message to the other poll contenders, you can defeat us on the ballot but remember we have the military to stage a coup and take over the running of the island without any prior notice being given.
I blame MY3, Ranil and the yahapalayana government who adopted an attitude of you scratch my back and when the time comes around we will do the same.
If only all these criminal hora boru asses were jailed as promised Sri Lanka would have been on its merry way to overtake even Singapore as the undisputed jewel of the Indian ocean.
I am on my one knee praying to all the gods to ensure that the great human being is given the energy to get out of these unwanted unwarranted shackles /chains by appearing before a clean honest judicial officer who does not care two hoots for these undesirable baiya Gulla coward pariah bastards.
Kuviyam / July 31, 2020
Political Victimization is in the blood of Mahinda dynasty Voters will have to decide the ate of the country and throe SLPP out. If not the country will be doomed. Gota may even overrule the verdict given by a bench of 5 supreme court judges. That is the state of the Sri Lankan judiciary. What will happen if the Mahinda dynasty gets two-third majority? The fate of th country is in the hands of voters
Eagle Eye / August 1, 2020
The only thing ‘Jadapalana’ Government did well was taking revenge from Rajapakshe family and politicians in the opposition. Is calling officers of AGs office to Temple Trees and ordering them to arrest Rajapakse family members using cooked up charges ‘Yahapalanaya’ that people expected?
“Political Victimization is in the blood of Mahinda dynasty”
Stanley / July 31, 2020
All any dictator wants is yes-men to obey him. Gota has plenty. We are being ruled by Generals and military committees. This can only get worse.
hanchopancha / July 31, 2020
The Cheap Justices and their cohorts have transformed the courts of law to a dry cleaning laundry to facilitate the criminals to come out clean and smelling sweet.
punchinilame / July 31, 2020
Rajapakses – as would any Politician in Sri Lanka would ensure these same tactics, as they know
how illegal their hidden activities were – MURDER in the highest order. Shani would have foreseen
all this and even more, but had the courage not to escape overseas. Let us await the next step – how
the SB intelligentsia and the yellow robes act.
Rest Harrow / July 31, 2020
I watching these events unfold with dismay, pain and frustration and ready watch out many more surprises once the elections are over. The devil will reveal itself after the 5th August and there is also very little light at the end of the 5 year tunnel.
Can’t believe after five years of a very weak government and it being in disarray in all fronts with Yahapalanaya and now Ranil playing the second fiddle to Rajapkshas and being an agent to split the UNP as a formidable opposition, its just frustration and nothing more.
Simon / July 31, 2020
Recently a TV discussion was held with Anura Kumara Dissanayake, a contestant in the forthcoming Parliamentary Elections. One of the three panelists referred to a meeting held at Temple Trees during the previous Government’s 100-day program and asked AKD: “Were you not entrusted with the responsibility together with an official position to frame charges and arrest members and officials of MR’s regime”. The answer AKD gave was a thunderous slap on the face of the panelist who raised the question. The answer was: ” I never participated in such meetings and never held such responsibilities or offices. However, if I was given such responsibilities and appointed to handle that task, many of the present-day corrupt Ministers, MPs, and officials would never be walking free as they do today. Not even any of them become a President” . Shouldn’t that be happening in Sri Lanka? That is a MUST. To make it happen, all these self-proclaimed “Political Masters” of many decades of “Experience”, who “Promise” to make the country a “Miracle”, who “Mislead” and “Hoodwink” the masses must be KICKED OUT and bring in a NEW GOVERNMENT and an ADMINISTRATION that DOES what it SAYS.
Eagle Eye / August 1, 2020
Do not believe what AKD says. In a recent interview when asked about importing 19 Lamborghini cars by Namal which is not true, he said he talked about importing cars but he cannot remember that he said they were Lamborghini cars. There is a video clip where he says 19 Lamborghini cars were imported by Namal. May be he got the infectious disease ‘Mata Mathaka Nehe’ from Ravi.
Watch at: https://www.facebook.com/Anuja.Manchanayake
If he was given the responsibility to take action against corrupt politicians by ‘Yahapalana’ Government, I wonder whether he who was branded as ‘Rathu Ali Petiya’ by Somawansa Amarasinghe would recommend to arrest Ranil and all the others in UNP involved in ‘Bond Scam’?
Simon / August 1, 2020
Eagle Eye: Thank you. Please note, I am not a “Believer”. Please read once again my comment from “Shouldn’t this be happening in Sri Lanka….. That was the main FACT and TRUTH that I intended to communicate. I don’t care who does it. Don’t you think someone MUST DO IT? For sure, I KNOW (no belief) that all these corrupt political leaders and their cohorts (including family members) of UNP, SJB, & “Pohottu” are NOT going to DO that. Simply stated, NO ROUGE or a CRIMINAL is going to stand against another of his/her type. That’s a fact.
Dilshan / August 3, 2020
Before that Nivard Cabral should be arrested for starting the bond scams
Ajith / July 31, 2020
Arrest of Sharni Abeyasekara highlights one important thing. He is a victim of Politics. Gota did not arrest Ranil but those civil servants who worked for Ranil are victims. Similar things happened during when Ranil & Sirisena was in government. Civil servants went to jail not Mahinda or Gota. Karuna did number of abductions and murder for Mahinda & Gota but Karuna & Pilliyan are still safe even after they accepted that they did kill Sinhala military.
In summary, Politicians are safe but civil servants are victims. Will our people realise this truth?
Eagle Eye / August 1, 2020
During ‘Jadapalana’ Government both politicians and civil servants were victims. They put Rajapakse family members, several politicians in ‘Joint Opposition’ and several Civil Servants behind bars using cooked up charges. Shani was the ‘Head Cook’.
In summary, Politicians are safe but civil servants are victims.
SarathP / August 1, 2020
Shani Abeysekera’s life is in danger. Not a word Of protest from Ranil, Sajith, AKD and other opposition leaders so far. The end of the last honest cop?
paragon / August 1, 2020
NEXT MAN IN LINE FOR PRESIDENTIAL PARDON IS NON OTHER THAN PRIYANGA JAYARATNE THE SO CALLED KAKKA MALLI.VERY SOON SRILANAKA POLICE AND COURTS WILL BECOME PART OF RAJAPASE FAMILY PROPERTY AFTER AUGUST 5TH IF THEY GET EVEN WORKING MAJORITY.
soma / August 1, 2020
Did anyone listen to his telephone conversations with Ranjan Ramanayaka?
Does anyone have the Youtube link?
The Scribe / August 1, 2020
Sad times ahead
hanchopancha / August 1, 2020
When the Chief Justices and the respective judges lured in to share the ill-gotten wealth, conspire with the criminals to protect them by turning justice upside down by sanctification of the heinous crime can someone please tell; from where the hapless victim supposed to secure justice? ??
Agnos / August 1, 2020
Voters need to prevent a two-thirds majority by voting actively, and a strong opposition needs to act against the corrupt, thuggish, racist and murderous impulses of the cabal surrounding GR.
Plato / August 2, 2020
The arrest and detention of Shani Abeysekera, without any soul raising a voice in support of him, goes to show that Srilanka is fast becoming a Failed State.
Noam Chomsky will have enough material to write his next book Failed States Part two!
Truth28 / August 3, 2020
I hope the legal system will save Shani Abeysekera who was an excellent CID officer from these trumped up charges.