May 20, 2022

'Deshabandu free while others are arrested' – Magistrate chides CID

The Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday (19) reprimanded the CID yesterday for avoiding taking action against Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon and only expediting the arrests of other minor suspects.

Attorney Maithri Gunaratne who appeared for those affected by the incident, together with a group of lawyers, severely criticized the manner in which the CID was conducting investigations.

Presidents Counsel Maithri Gunaratne:

The Attorney General issued orders for the arrest of 22 persons who attacked the MainaGoGama and GotaGoGama protesters and caused harm. This incident happened due to the negligence of duty by Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon who is among the 22 ordered to be arrested.

Magistrate:

Is Deshabandu Tennakoon included in the list sent by the AG to the IDP?

Deputy Solicitor General Lakmini Hiriyagama:

Yes his name is included.

Presidents Counsel Maithri Gunaratne:

How can an impartial investigation take place when Deshabandu Tennakoon is still in his post?

There is no point in catching the small fish. Why aren’t the big fish being arrested? The law is not implemented fairly in this country.

Even in a bribe case, only the small man who accepts a minor bribe gets caught while those who engage in large scale fraud escape.

Knowing that this incident will happen, he had told them to go and he would take care of it. What more evidence do you need? Why can’t the AG’s Department and the CID understand this? Had they used tear gas to disperse the crowds this situation could have been averted. There is no point in pinning medals on one’s shoulder if they are incapable of carrying out their duties properly. As a result, millions worth of property have been damaged.

Deshabandu Tennakoon who did not take action to prevent this is responsible for this situation. The law should also be enforced against former Minister Johnston Fernando, a suspect in this case. The CID seems to be dragging their feet on this investigation and deliberately trying to dilute it. I request that all those on the list advised by the Attorney General be arrested.

The magistrate then asked if a statement was recorded from the Senior DIG and the CID said yes, but they are now verifying the details of the statement.

The Magistrate then questioned why the CID was not arresting the SDIG, while the other suspects had been arrested. She also noted that this was just another case in her view and warned the CID not to make this case a special issue, warning that then, there won’t be any issue for the CID.

Deputy Solicitor General Lakmini Hiriyagama said that the CID is continuously engaged in investigating this incident, adding that Moratuwa Mayor Samanlal Fernando, Dan Priyasad and eight other suspects who were arrested by the CID on suspicion of assaulting protesters have been remanded till the 25th of this month by the Magistrate.

 

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