SSP Shani Abeysekera, former director of the Criminal Investigation Department has been further remanded until August 20th by the Gampaha Magistrate despite an arrested sub-inspector’s revelations that the Colombo Crimes Division had tried to coerce him to falsely implicate the former CID chief.
When the case came up on August 7, the Gampaha Magistrate refused a bail application made for Shani Abeysekera by his Counsel President’s Counsel Wasantha Navaratne Bandara. Attorney at Law Chaminda Atukorale appeared on behalf of SI Mendis, the former CID sergeant who was serving with the Embilipitiya Police when he was arrested on the same charge as the former CID director. His lawyer told the Magistrate on August 3rd that SI Mendis had been pressured to implicate Shani Abeysekera, and that CCD officials had threatened him with arrest if he refused to submit to the pressure.
During his bail application on behalf of Abeysekera, Bandara PC raised an issue with the lack of Attorney general department’s representation in a case of such serious magnitude which involved a case determined by a High Court trial at bar five years ago, that was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Department.
Bandara PC also raised serious concerns about the former CID Director’s safety in prison and made a case for special protection measures for Abeysekera. However the Magistrate refused to issue a special order in this regard although he urged prison officials to be mindful of protection of life inside prison walls.
During Friday’s proceedings the CCD represented by ASP Neville De Silva also requested the Magistrate to issue an arrest warrant against IP Nishantha Silva who had fled the country.
However the Magistrate said that before he could issue such an order he would require a report from the Department of Immigration.
IP Nishantha Silva left the country in November 2019 soon after the presidential election out of fears for his safety with the election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The CCD is accusing all three police officers of fabricating evidence against former DIG Vass Gunewardane who was sentenced to death by a Trial at Bar of the High Court in November 2015 for the murder of Mohammed Shiyam. At the trial it was revealed that Vass Gunewardane was running a contract killing unit and had been paid Rs 10 million for Shiyam’s murder.
Now the CCD, the unit Vaas Gunewardane ran at the time of his arrest is accusing Shani Abeysekera of planting evidence to incriminate the bent top cop. The CCD investigation was launched after several police units were ordered to investigate Shani Abeysekera to find something incriminating on the former CID chief. When these investigations failed to find evidence of wrongdoing, the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration put the CCD, Vaas Gunewardane’s own unit on the job. (By Kumara Ranagala)