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Ahimsa’s objections on CID Director’s appointment; Constitutional Council wants NPC’s observations

SLAIN – Former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge

ECONOMYNEXT – The Constitutional Council is calling for the National Police Commission’s (NPC) observations on a letter sent to the Commission by the daughter of slain journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge challenging the appointment of the new Director of the Criminal Investigation Department.

A Press Release issued by the Parliamentary office said that former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya as Chairman of the Constitutional Council had brought the attention of the Council to the letter sent by the Editor’s daughter Ahimsa Wickrematunge.

In her letter Wickrematunge asked the NPC to reconsider the appointment of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) A.R.P.J. Alwis as Director of the Criminal Investigation Department.

This is because, Wickrematunge says, Alwis was found to have suppressed evidence “and shielded suspects” in the investigation into her father’s killing. “He (Alwis) is not suitable for such high office,” Wickrematunge wrote.

She pointed out that the current Acting Inspector General of Police C D Wickremeratne had ordered the arrest of Alwis after the court ordered him held due to his actions in the murder investigation.

“My father, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was murdered in Attidiya on 8th January 2009. His murder is being investigated by the CID. In October 2019, the CID reported to the Mount Lavinia Magistrates Court that in 2010, the then Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID), SSP A.R. Prasanna J. Alwis, had suppressed evidence and shielded suspects in order to screen my father’s murderers from punishment. Such crimes are each punishable by up to seven years in prison,” Wickrematunge said in her letter to the NPC.

“The CID were ordered by then Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) C.D. Wickremaratne to arrest Alwis and produce him before the magistrate. After the presidential election, the Acting IGP suddenly changed his mind. SSP Alwis was never arrested or produced. Instead, on 21st May 2020, the NPC approved the government’s request to appoint SSP Alwis as the new CID Director. Months after ordering his arrest as a murder suspect, Wickremaratne tricked the commission into putting SSP Alwis in charge of the CID” she wrote.

The “Morning” newspaper reported that the NPC has asked the Acting IGP to submit a report on Alwis’s appointment.

These reports quoted NPC Secretary Nishantha Weerasinghe as saying that the commission has requested a report from the Acting IGP regarding SSP Alwis. “The letter sent by Ahimsa Wickrematunge was taken into due consideration and the commission has requested a report on the newly appointed CID Director. The contents of the letter named the alleged involvement of SSP Alwis in the preliminary investigations of Lasantha Wickrematunge’s murder,” he noted.

Prior to his appointment as the Director of the CID, SSP Alwis served as the Director of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Division.

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“I also urge the Commission to seek an explanation from Wickremaratne over his role in aiding SSP Alwis to evade arrest and become head of the CID, and on the legal basis by which he is purporting to act in the office of IGP without the approval of the Constitutional Council,” the Editor’s daughter wrote.

“The independent police commission should not be remembered for rubber stamping the appointment of a murder suspect to the head Sri Lanka’s apex detective agency,” she added. (Colombo, June 25, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana