Sri Lanka arrests ex-top cop over Thajudeen murder

ECONOMYNEXT – The once all-powerful Western Province police chief Anura Senanayake was remanded for three days on an allegation of suppressing evidence in the Wasim Thajudeen case.

The retired Senior Deputy Inspector-General Senanayake was ordered to be held in custody till Wednesday pending further investigations into the May 2012 killing of one-time national rugby skipper Thajudeen.

Additional magistrate Nishantha Peiris was told that there was evidence to suggest Senanayake’s involvement in suppressing vital evidence at the scene of the crime.

The former Narahenpita crimes OIC is already in remand custody on a similar charge. He had maintained that he acted on orders of Senanayake, the then top police officer who worked closely with then IGP N. K. Illangakoon.

Top police sources said the investigation should inevitably lead to questioning Illangakoon too because it was he who is alleged to have closed the Thajudeen case as a "traffic accident" despite a confidential report to the contrary.

Thajudeen’s body was exhumed in August last year, seven months after the new government came to power, and forensic experts ruled that he had been tortured and killed.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has publicly denied that his navy officer son Yoshitha, also a former rugby skipper, killed Thajudeen. Media reports had suggested a rivalry between them.

Both players had represented Sri Lanka at Rugby Sevens and Rajapaksa senior has been accused by rival political parties and local media of helping to cover up the murder, an allegation he has denied.

The latest evidence suggests that Thajudeen was abducted in a car owned by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, police had told court last year.

The Red Cross said the Land Rover Defender had belonged to the organisation, but it was being used at the time by a charity of the then first lady, Shiranthi Rajapaksa.





Both she and her husband also face investigation over allegations that they syphoned off billions of dollars from the state during his decade in power.

Several Rajapaksa siblings, as well as other family members and close associates, face a plethora of corruption allegations, which they have rejected as a political witch-hunt.

(COLOMBO, May 23, 2016)

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