ECONOMYNEXT – Alleged Sri Lankan underworld figure Dharmakeerthi Tharaka Perera Wijesekara alias Kosgoda Tharaka died today (13) while in police custody following what police called a shooting incident.
The shootout, which involved the police, took place in Rendapola, Mirigama, this morning, police spokesman Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ajirth Rohana said.
The DIG said in his statement that the 34-year-old “criminal gang leader” who had been detained by the Western Province (North) Crime Division was taken to Rendapola for a “special operation” this morning. Once there, Rohana said, an incident had occurred which compelled police officers to use force.
The suspect had later succumbed to his injuries upon admission to the Mirigama hospital, he said.
The police spokesman said a chief inspector of police who was also injured in the incident has been admitted to the Wathupitiwala hospital for treatment.
The DIG in charge of the Western Province (North) has appointed a special team to conduct an investigation into the incident, Rohana said. This team will report its findings to the Aththanagalla magistrate for a magisterial inquiry.
Police said Wijesekara had been involved in various crimes in Kosgoda,Matara, Moratuwa and Kottawa police areas since 2005.
According to police reports, he had committed seven murders and 21 robberies.
This is the second time this week an alleged underworld leader was killed while in police custody. Mabulage Dineth Melan Mabula, alias Uru Juwa, who was arrested on May 10 for murder, extortion and organised crime, died after a similar incident the next day. Further investigations are under way, police said. (Colombo/May13/2021)