Sri Lanka police arrest ASP after public pressure
ECONOMYNEXT – The police Criminal Investigations Department Tuesday arrested an Assistant Superintendent after an intense media outcry over a police attack that led to the death of a 29-year-old man.
ASP Dharmaratne was questioned at the Police Garage where he was posted by Inspector General N K Illangakoon despite a court order last week for his immediate arrest.
The failure of the police to arrest ASP Dharmaratne who is implicated in the death of Sumith Prasanna Jayawardena was criticised even by government figures, including Telecom Minister Harin Fernando.
It was not immediately clear if the police had arrested a chief inspector and 22 constables also implicated in the incident which drew wide spread condemnation.
Telecommunications minister Fernando told reporters on Monday that he was under the impression that police had already arrested two senior officers in line with an order by the Embilipitiya magistrate.
He was surprised to learn that IGP Illangakoon had been dragging his feet. In the meantime, the aggrieved party had filed two petitions in the court of appeal and the supreme court against the police.
"I will bring this to the notice of the prime minister and other senior ministers," Fernando told reporters in Colombo when questioned on why police did not arrest its own men while Yoshitha Rajapaksa had been arrested.
Fernando said the Embilipitiya incident showed that the police commission too had failed to inspire public confidence with its lackadaisical attitude towards dealing with abuses.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe last week slammed the media for giving wide coverage to the magistrate’s order to arrest police while allegedly playing down conduct of BBS monk Galagoda Aththai Gnanasara who caused a rumpus at another court.
In the Embilipitiya case, the entire local police station stand accused of causing the death of 29-year-old Jayawardena early last month after party goers refused alcohol for a police mobile patrol.
IGP Illangakoon has denied allegations that he was protecting the officers because they had done personal favours for him when he was in the STF. (COLOMBO, Feb 2, 2016)