19 November, 2019

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The Arrest Of Vaas Gunawardena And The Descent Into Rulelessness

By AHRC –

Mohamed Shiyam

The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Vass Gunawardena is now in remand custody while an inquiry into the conspiracy to murder a businessman for pay is ongoing. Even as he is being interrogated he was reported in the television network, Suwarnawa Hini, in its programme on Mulpituwe (Front Page, which is a commentary on leading newspaper stories), as telling the investigating police officers that he is a murderer and that he “will take his revenge when he returns“.

For over several years there have been many allegations regarding Vass Gunawardena. The attack on a student, Nipuna Ramanayake, by wife and son with the aid of two police officers working for the DIG (who was a Senior Superintendent of Police at the time), received wide coverage in the media. However, no criminal action has been taken on that issue as of today. The Fundamental Rights Application filed by the student was postponed for hearing until January 2014.

The execution-style killing of five persons following the killing of the brother of a local politician also received wide publicity. Vass Gunawardena was the Officer-in-Charge of the area within which these murders took place. It was also revealed that the actual murderers of the politician’s brother were not the five persons who had been murdered but some others who surrendered themselves to court later. There have been no arrests relating to these five execution-style killings.

After Vass Gunawardena was transferred as the superior officer to the Kahawatte area in which there had been around 16 mysterious murders two of the accused, who were in custody for one of the murders and who were released on bail, disappeared and later, according to reports, their bodies were found after being dumped. Again no one was arrested regarding these murders.

It was just a few weeks ago that Vass Gunawardena made his famous statement in which he told the police officers in the area under his control that if anybody assaults a police officer he had given permission to shoot them. He also said that he had issued guns and 20 bullets to each of these officers. He also said that he would take to task any officer who has not used those bullets in case any incident happened in the future. This statement was obviously made with the approval of the political authorities.

The media has widely reported the close connection between Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Vass Gunarwardena. At present the police operate under the Ministry of Defence. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in its final report recommended that the police should function as a separate institution and not under the Ministry of Defence. However, the government has rejected this recommendation and is quite keen to keep the police under this Ministry which is virtually under the control of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Nipuna Ramanayake

The allegations of the murder of a leading millionaire businessman, Mohamed Shiyam, by way of a contract killing, executed by a DIG using police officers who work under him reflects the extent to which Sri Lanka’s policing system has descended to rulelessness and lawlessness. The case of DIG Vass Gunawardena is not an isolated one and if proper inquiries are made there is no doubt that many police officers, including many senior officers, will be implicated for crimes they have committed themselves as well as for covering up the crimes of others.

The incident in which DIG Vass Gunarwardena is suspected of involvement does not come as any surprise. One of the most talked about issues in Sri Lanka in recent years has been the collapse of the public institutions through what is commonly known as politicisation. The police service is at the top of such politicised institutions. This debate is popularly known as the debate on the 17th Amendment to the Constitution or the debate against the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

The descent of the police to a ruleless and lawless institution is part of the overall direction of a political system which is also ruleless and lawless. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution completed the descent into lawlessness which started with the 1978 Constitution. The limited reforms which attempted to undo some of the defects of the 1978 Constitution by way of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution was undone by the Rajapaksa regime in their adoption of the 18th Amendment.

Now rulelessness is threatening every area of life in the nation. The murder of a leading businessman, allegedly through arrangements made by a DIG of the police, reveals the extent to which even the business community itself is threatened. One businessman having a dispute with another or a landlord who has difficulties in evicting tenants and for that matter anyone else who has enough money to spend to get rid of an opponent can now have the assistance of the police themselves to have their nefarious designs carried out.

The arrest of the DIG, Vass Gunawardena should be taken as an occasion to fathom the danger that the entire country is now faced with due to a political system that prefers rulelessness as against the rule of law. This is a theme that the Asian Human Rights Commission has tried to highlight by repeated warnings over the last 15 years. Even at this late stage if conscientious persons within the Sri Lankan society, including the business community does not take this warning seriously they do so at risk of further peril to themselves.

On the other hand there is a general cynicism on the possibility of the investigating officers in this case having a free hand to conduct their inquiries with the thoroughness required of any criminal investigation. Skeptics believe that higher political authorities may interfere with this investigation due to the fear that many more crimes may be revealed in the process of a proper investigation. If that were to happen then the repercussions on the security of the business community and others would be enormously negative.

*A Statement of Asian Human Rights Commission

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Latest comments

  • 0
    1

    Police sleuths will soon drop inquiries against Vaas Gunawardena like a hot potatoe. Can you expect justice in a country where seats of power are occupied by rogues and murderers?

    • 0
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      This country has put Colonel Sanders in charge of the chicken coop and the Sri Lankan chickens are going to be eaten, one by one, by the Colonel and his pack of jackals as the days go by!
      In the meantime, all that the opposition (Ranil W & Co.) can do is go “Kok-kok-kotaak” and wait for their next piece of KFC from the Presidential table like the good cannibals of the poultry world that they are!

    • 0
      0

      Sooner we get rid of Rajapaksa regime , better for the Country. That is the only way to save Sri Lanka from this disastrous situation. Only way to stop the vicious cycle of crimes and lawlessness is to establish a new government excluding Rajapaksa regime and criminals.

    • 0
      0

      The New Law and Order Code of Ethics in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Sri Lanka.

      So what do the racist monks BBS want to do?

      Monk Mahanama Monks Myths and the Mythical Dharmadeepaya.

      “Now rulelessness is threatening every area of life in the nation. The murder of a leading businessman, allegedly through arrangements made by a DIG of the police, reveals the extent to which even the business community itself is threatened. One businessman having a dispute with another or a landlord who has difficulties in evicting tenants and for that matter anyone else who has enough money to spend to get rid of an opponent can now have the assistance of the police themselves to have their nefarious designs carried out.”

    • 1
      0

      Looks like the Business is Booming in the Resplendent Island “Dharma Deepaya”

      Balance in Vaas’ account –Rs. 327 lakhs ! underworld criminals reveal secrets before judge in chamber – conspiracy to save Vaas?

      lankaenews.com/English/news.php?id=13732

      (Lanka-e-News-14.June.2013, 11.30PM) Following the investigations by the CID into the series of crimes of extortions , abductions and murders allegedly committed by Vaas Gunawardena the contract murderer ,it has now come to light so far that there is a sum of Rs. 327 lakhs in the accounts of Vaas Gunawardena.

      The day previous to the killing of businessman Shyam of Bambalapitiya , the latter had been fetched in the night to the top floor of north western DIG’s office of Vaas Gunawardena at Peliyagoda. The businessman had been taken to the DIG’s office by SI Lakmini Bamunusinghe who is now in custody and the murder group. After the abduction of Shyam , Bammunusinghe had phoned Vaas via his mobile phone and told ‘ everything is alright’. This call had been recorded by the Dialog tower.

  • 0
    0

    How dare a DIG behave in this manner ? He has no respect and dignity. He should be exemplary – these prima facie facts to send him life long imprisonment. Developed world arrange their most dangerous prisoner rehab therapies in that way, they let prisoners to learn how their criminal energies keep over control.

    This DIG himself admit that he is a killer… See the levels have fallen to the no go states today. He has no at all respect to represent the national police. This is true nature of many of his colleagues too. Ruling govt support them, so why not they can be killers on broad daylight. I wonder what Minister Of Defence has to say about the respectless remarks of DIG.

  • 0
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    These reminds me of the american movie -“The Silence of the Lambs”.

    How can all these come to this level of a country – over 70% are to be called – respect AVIHINSA- Buddhists ?????????”. I am also born buddhist as almost any others. But the respect and dignity to fall to this levels – is the failure of politicians. This gives us all traces to follow the murders of Richard de Zoysa, Lasantha Wickramatunga and many others.

  • 0
    0

    WAIT TILL I COME OUT OF MY SENTENCE AT WELIKDA,

    I WILL TEACH YOU GOOD LESSON,YOU MEDIA PEOPLE,.
    YOU BLOODY JURNOS,
    I HAVE A FULL SUPPORT FROM MY BOSSES, F irst KING FAMLY.
    YOU SHOULD NOT FORGET THAT.

  • 0
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    Surely with such evidence coming out, the No. 1 public servant can also
    be arrested and questioned. Come on IGP – you are duty-bound to take
    action. Are the days getting closer for some one????

    • 0
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      Thug DIG A… S….. will take over!!

  • 0
    0

    We are still not certain Vaas Gunawardene is guilty as alleged. I believe he has not been charged yet. But if he is guilty, it would not surprise many, who have helplessly watched the deterioration of the country in to lawlessness under Mahinda Rajapaksa. This is probably all that Mahinda is capable of. Surprising for a man who has been in the forefront of political life for 43 years.

    Any good leader must be totally committed to the Rule of Law if not he is unqualified to be Head of State. People like Vaas Gunawardene are only exposing the true face of their political masters, in this case, the Rajapaksa family!

  • 0
    0

    In our Holy Land, where the President knows, how to fix the courts, the DIG will be acquitted for the lack of evidence/witnesses just as we have seen it before and we will continue to see it in the future. All Govt’s in the past has contributed generously towards this attitude.

    • 0
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      This is absolutely not correct, as far as my knowledge concerned.

      The current regime and their actions in terms of crimes promotions and making nurseries to breed them easily is glass clear. I dont live in SL, but from what I read in the recent months, prove me all this. Current regime has not policy of controlling crimes. No proper investigations into any of the crimes – that has lot to do with Defence Secretary^s involvement rather than anything else. Where in previous times, we heard a DIG fearlessly making statements like ” I am a killer, I will revenge you all on my return”… can you please add me few references from the past to prove your comment ?

      • 0
        0

        Appubaba, it wasn’t clear from an earlier posting of yrs, if u lived (or shd i say ‘tried to survive’)in SL or were fortunate enough to b in a place where ‘burning’ issues like those of ‘security’, ‘insecurity’, etc., were not a constant subject for concern. But now it is clear that U dont have to contend with such matters most of the time. Little wonder u exclaimed at lesser beings wasting time chatting about tasty delicacies of yester year, instead of devoting their energies to solving the enormous problems many of them have to confront every day. But such people NEED breaks from the tension & anxiety & insecurity (& here I am not referring to military matters – there r so many other kinds of insecurity).
        Have u 4gotten the Sri Lankan smile, how SLs manage to smile even when relating a tragic event? It’s amazing – I dont possess that gene, alas.
        And may I remind u that anyway, it is one thing to reminisce about those ‘tasty delicacies’, it is quite another – 4 many people here now – to actually ENJOY them anymore. With the cost of onions, coconut (maldive fish?…forget it!), etc, in many homes pol sambol has bcome haute cuisine! The only thing is it doesnt need fuel!

        But, anyway, THINK about it, can u read AHRC’s report here & still b surprised that every SLankan doesnt come out loud & clear about the ‘burning issues’? Many of them simply lie low & hope 4 the best.

        • 0
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          Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Appubaba, have u any suggestions?

          • 0
            0

            Noui,

            Dear MF,thanks for your comment. I never thought the situation is reached to that appalling levels :(

            I have NOT forgotten lanken smile. But I am not sure, it s the same smile I was used to – in the Island two decades ago :( this I notice whenever I visit my aged parents regularly.

            I do have suggestions, but none of them could be a match so long -sine qua non condition -enforcing rule of the law is miles away.

      • 0
        0

        My dear chap, for one, remember the murder of Richard De Zoysa, his killers walk the streets free.

        Btw, are we having a mental health problem with these chaps. After all, now that the war is over, how is that killings / disappearances continue ?

    • 0
      0

      Who are these ASPs,SPs,SSPs,DIGs and SDIGs?What are their
      respective responsibilities and how are they carried out?
      Why on earth,in our country,even an office boy is a Godly
      creature?Simple and public secret is,not nationalism and
      not definitely patriotism.Everything else but the duty of
      service.One must not hesitate to say that the whole
      establishment of police is corrupt for well over forty
      years because of bad politics.Daily concerns of Police
      higher ups are ranging from making business contacts,looking
      for lands,and in short making plans for a comfortable
      retirement using the facilities, provided to look after the
      interests of the general public.How much time do they spend
      to devise a successful strategy to tackle the wave of rising
      crime everyday?If these higher ups spend just two hours a day
      for the welfare of the public,a lot could have been achieved.
      Not one Vaas,all these higher ups allow their wives and
      sometimes in-laws to influence their subordinates to get things
      done unlawfully.People have experiences,especially the business
      community.

  • 0
    0

    This is what I say repeatedly in every comment this regime is full of corrupt rogues murderers cheaters etc etc etc.

    • 0
      0

      Can we ever find a way out of this most dangerous situation ?

      • 0
        0

        Yes you can. Wait me come back.I live Mahinda tell lie.I Prabhakaran live in Nazareth Tamil Nadu.I kill all Police office man. Make you very happy.

    • 0
      0

      But the racist con-artist JIMSOTHTHI aka LEELA ANGODA says the opposite.

  • 0
    0

    This seems to be the tip of the iceberg. It should not be limited to one abduction and murder but all including the other killings in Kahawatte should be fully investigated. These types of ruthless practices have been legitimised by this regime from the killing of journalist like Lasantha, and have now turned into a cancer within the police services itself. The Ceylon Police, started by the the British has now degenrated into a private killing and torture machine.

    As stated, it is certain that other officers too are involved. Such activities cannot go on in secret. Hopefully there will be some who will have the courage now to come forward and reveal the truth.

    • 0
      0

      Rulers CLEARLY play with human lives as no other times in the past.

      Even the high days of brutal terror in the country – the situation was not appalling as seen today.

  • 0
    0

    Vass G will be a free bird very soon. The CID officer will be in hot water very soon

  • 0
    0

    The police have the “backing” of the judiciary to carry on their torture,rape,intimidation & murder in an indirect way – anyone arrested and produced before a magistrate is automatically remanded without beng questioned in private by the magistrate,as required by law,about what he/she has to say about the allegations against him/her.
    It seems now,that magistrates are reluctant to ‘displease’ police by questioning ‘suspects’.
    This never happened in the old days – police had to justify arrest and had to have informed the citizen the reasons for the arrest,as required by law.
    If the citizen complained of assault,he/she was referred for immediate examination – in private,without police presence – and report.
    Nowadays it appears that police pressure medical officers to report what they want,and not the truth.
    Postmortem Reports in murder cases are kept a secret even during trials,and lawyers do not request them – though the reports are the most important items of evidence in a murder trial.
    Thus,there is perversion of the judicial process of justice.
    Nipuna’s case regarding his fundamental rights,is still pending – does this too,not show collusion of judiciary to favour this police officer?
    Now the final mockery – “falling sick” to be in hospital to aviod
    being in remand custody has been resorted to,by this police officer.
    Will the hospital doctors dare to discharge him as physically fit?

    • 0
      0

      Srilanka is corrupt head to toe.Day in day out it’s getting
      worse.Main culprit is always the govts in power and the
      oppositions waiting to capture power.None of these guys have
      any interest to correct the situation BECAUSE CORRUPTION IS
      THE REAL RULE OF LAW THAT BRINGS THEM TO POWER AND CHASE THEM
      AWAY FROM POWER.Even mutual respect to one another as humans
      is demanding a price.Schools have never been so corrupt before.
      There have been English language tutorials everywhere but today
      tutorials overtake grocers.Teachers are paid to teach,then why
      this countless number of tuition shops many of which are run by
      teachers for their pupils in schools for the same subjects?
      Is the vote of the people cast or extracted?WHAT DO PEOPLE OF
      OUR COUNTRY REALLY WANT OUT OF LIFE?No industry in our country
      is making any headway like CRIME AND CORRUPTION.Two good
      investments for a better tomorrow.Some world historians saw our
      people as “monkish” many centuries ago and how much have we
      changed to prove otherwise?True,constructions of roads and other
      buildings are coming up as parts of developments and civilization
      by way of loans and grants but where’s the real “you” to own them?
      I would challenge any expert on morality and ethics that achieving
      a high standard on road discipline both by drivers and the public
      alone will increase people awareness on self respect to a higher
      level.Another culprit killing people’s self respect is,any public
      transport which is taken for granted by all parties concerned.
      These are some easy achievable issues that are not taken serious
      and left to flourish until a whole nation become barbaric.Politics
      wants chaos in our country because it’s a country of nervous
      politicians.

  • 0
    0

    This is show the weakness of administrator of police force.Even according to international media some gold stories behind the incident.Last they may kill the vass to protect the politicians.

  • 0
    0

    DEAR VELUPILLAI, WE DONT NEED YOUR BLOODY HELP TO CLEAN THE SL POLICE. GOD IS THERE FOR US. THERE IS SOMETHING CALLED RETRIBUTION>> WE SHALL SEE SOON…..TRUTH WILL TRIUMPH AND ALL INJUSTICE AND ALL EVIL WILL COME TO AN END. THE MAJORITY OF SRI LANKANS ARE HONEST AND SINCERE PEOPLE EXCEPT FOR A FEW..ESPECUALLY FROM THE RCENT PAST WHO HAVE TURNED TO BE GREEDY…..ESPECILLAY AFTER THE PROMULGATION OF THE EVIL 1978 CONSTITUTION AND THE PR SYSTEM………….VERY SOON THE TRUTH WILL EMERGE AND JUSTICE WILL TRIUMPH….GOD IS GREAT!!!!
    DDS

  • 0
    0

    Whole incident surfaced like this because victims brother-in-law happened to have close ties with MR. He talked MR and MR made direct orders to police to follow up this case without knowing GR’s close connections with this DIG,
    Anyway, this DIG will walk home freely from the hospital he stays now in a few days.
    God bless Sri Lanka
    Anura

  • 0
    0

    THIS DAMN COUNTRY IS THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD,THE CIVILIAN POLICE
    FORCE COMES UNDER THE DEFENSE MINISTRY. AND THIS IS THE FIRST GOVERNMENT
    IN SRI LANKA SINCE INDEPENDENCE THAT HAS THE POLICE UNDER DEFENCE
    MINISTRY. IT IS A SCARY SITUATION.WHERE ALL THE ARMED FORCES AND POLICE
    ARE UNDER ONE MAN AND THAT TOO A MAN CALLED “GOATABAYA’. BLOOD BROTHER
    OF THE PRESIDENT.HE IS A BLOOD THIRSTY MONSTER

    WE ARE NOT LIVING IN A DEMOCRATIC STATE- IT IS A POLICE STATE.

    IF RAJAPAKSES THINK THAT THEY WILL LIVE FOR EVER,THEY HAVE TO JUST
    THINK OF THEIR FRIENDS LIKE GADDAFI.

    COMPARED TOR OUR “MARA”, SADDAM HUSSAIN WAS AN ANGEL

    SUBHA ANAGATHEYAK

  • 0
    0

    Shocking to see the rate of comments the article has
    managed to capture, especially from those who are
    very humane even to ANIMALS!Where are those cyber heroes
    who used to argue endlessly in favor of anything that
    appeared against Muslims?We are talking about the actions
    of PATRIOTIC HEROES OF POST WAR FREEDOM FROM THE TERROR OF
    VEUPILLAI PRABHAKARAN.

  • 0
    0

    So he was arrested! Why?

  • 0
    0

    I could nt find comment section for vace gunawardenes verdict for merdering muslim bussinessman. This is the best judelement given by the court’s. Death panelty. But if he return to society. He will
    Kill senior police officers who prosecute face. He should pay for his crime. Otherwise how his wife got 30million
    Son got 25millions and vace got 30millions. They earned this money from hiding the law to release top srilankan criminals. Mathew.

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