A notorious underworld figure known as Ganemulla Sanjeewa released from charges by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court yesterday (12) had been arrested in 2019 in connection with a plot to assassinate Jaffna district lawmaker and TNA spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran, according to details now emerging.
Sanjeewa Samararatne alias Ganemulla Sanjeewa was released after the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) told court that the attorney general had informed them that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the underworld gangster and 10 others who were arrested in connection with the plot. 15 in all had been arrested in connection with the incident, and other related crimes including illegal arms smuggling.
The release of the would-be assassins/conspirators comes in the wake of Public Security Minister rear admiral retired Sarath Weerasekera arbitrarily withdrawing Sumanthiran’s special task force security in February 2021.
Weerasekera boasted he had issued the order to withdraw the MP’s security as a reprisal against Sumanthiran’s participation in the P2P March across the North and East by Muslims and Tamils to draw attention to the grievances of minorities and ongoing government repression. The March drew tens of thousands of people who defied multiple government efforts to block the protest.
The TNA Spokesman’s STF detail which was provided following the Government’s own security assessment that there was a threat to his life, was abruptly withdrawn as soon as the P2P march reached Jaffna.
Addressing Parliament soon afterwards, Sumanthiran said that there were three possible explanations for the decision to remove his STF detail. The first he said, was that the threats to his life were true, but the Government had withdrawn his security because they were annoyed at him for participating in the march. The second was that the allegations that his life was under threat were false, and the police had unnecessarily detained innocent people. “Third,” the TNA lawmaker said, “is the most sinister. That by withdrawing my security they have given a signal to those who would now act against my life. So if something should happen, the Government must then take responsibility for that.”
The outspoken Tamil MP was the target of two separate assassination plots, in 2017 and 2019. In 2019, the TID
The Attorney General has indicted four ex-LTTE cadres in the Colombo High Court with attempt to assassinate the TNA MP. The elaborate plot to harm the MP’s life in Chavacachcheri, Jaffna, was uncovered in December 2017. TID investigations into the conspiracy revealed that the team had been assigned with Sumanthiran’s assassination in 2016-2017 and had made attempts on his life at least on four occasions. The TID recovered two claymore bombs in the possession of the accused.
The Government of President Maithripala Sirisena immediately ordered additional security for MP Sumanthiran who regularly travels to his constituency of Jaffna.
Subsequently, in March 2019, the Colombo Crimes Division arrested 12 suspects connected to both the Underworld and the LTTE and produced them before the Chief Magistrate of Colombo, Lanka Jayaratne. The CCD told court that the 12 suspects had been arrested after their investigations had revealed plans to kill a Tamil politician on the instructions of LTTE operatives living overseas. While the CCD did not reveal the name of the politician at the time, it was widely believed that Sumanthiran was the target of the assassination plot. Three more suspects were subsequently arrested, most of them with connections to the underworld.
According to reporting in a Sinhalese language newspaper at the time, which revealed details of the suspects arrested by the CCD, the plot to assassinate Sumanthiran was to be executed shortly before the TNA MP left the island to attend the UNHRC sessions in Geneva. The underworld operatives were being used as mercenaries by LTTE operatives living overseas, the 2019 reports claimed. (By Janakie Mediwake)