ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigations Department has arrested Senior Deputy Inspector General Lalith Jayasinghe on a charge of obstructing justice and helping suspects in a rape and murder case escape.
Jayasinghe was the senior most police officer when 18-year-old Vidya Sivaloganathan was gang raped and murdered at Punkuduthivu, off Kayts island in the Jaffna peninsula in May 2015.
“Senior DIG Jayasinghe was arrested by the CID for allegedly allowing a suspect in the Vidya case to escape,” police said in a statement. “He is being taken before the magistrate in Kayts.”
Jayasinghe becomes the senior most officer to be arrested on a charge of obstruction of justice. Senior DIG Anura Senanayake was arrested on a similar charge after he retired and spent a year in remand custody on suspicion that he too obstructed investigations into the murder of rubgy star Wasim Thajudeen.
Jayasinghe was questioned at length Saturday by the CID about allegations that he helped a key suspect known as “Swiss Kumar” to escape from Jaffna and reach Colombo to flee the country.
However, the suspect was arrested on a tip off by a guesthouse owner in Wellawatte who alerted the local police.
Swiss Kumar’s gang which included about nine men had gang raped the student and video filmed her ordeal. She had been abducted as she rode her cycle to school and her mutilated body was found in a thicket the next day.
The horrific murder caused anger across the peninsula as well as the rest of the country with activists demanding swift action against the perpetrators.
Jayasinghe as the chief police officer in charge of the area is accused of trying to help the suspects and cover up the crime.
Swiss Kumar who is now in custody is also accused of trying to offer millions of rupees to other police officers to destroy evidence against him.
Jayasinghe was due to be arrested last year, but he had managed to prevent it till Saturday.
A High Court Trial at Bar is underway in Jaffna since June 28.
(COLOMBO, July 15, 2017)