Police ordered to probe second accused’s allegation

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Colombo High Court Judge Damith Thotawatta, on Friday (6) ordered the Police Department to probe an incident, where the second accused in the Rajagiriya hit and run case against SJB MP Patali Ranawaka, Dilum Thusitha Kumara, had been allegedly threatened by the Director and the OIC of the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD). He also ordered the Police to make submissions to him promptly.

The Judge ordered the second accused, to lodge a complaint with any Police Station that he deems fit and for that relevant Police Station to investigate the complaint before making submissions to the High Court.

The Judge gave this order, when the hit-and-run case, against the former Minister and two others, over the causing of grievous injury to youth Sandeep Sampath at Rajagiriya in 2016, during a traffic accident, was taken up for hearing.

President’s Counsel Maithri Guneratne, told Court that second accused Dilum Thusitha Kumara, who had posed as the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident, implicating first accused Patali Ranawaka, had received two phone calls on Thursday.

He said that his client, second accused Kumara, had received the two phone calls from the CCD and from an officer identified as Neville Silva.

Counsel Guneratne stated that via the two calls, his client had been warned not to change his stance and they had also warned that if he were to do so, he should be prepared to face the consequences.

He then urged Court, to issue a suitable order with regard to the measures that his client should undertake in this connection.

DSG Dileepa Peiris, prosecuting, stated that the probe into the case has already been concluded by the investigative officers and the case abstracts had been sent for the perusal of the Attorney General.

He said that the Attorney General had then filed the case before the High Court and maintained that there was no pressure being exerted by investigative officers.

He charged that the allegations made by the defence, were baseless and noted that they were made with the intention of eroding the implicit trust and confidence, placed on investigative institutions by the Judiciary.

The DSG added that the defence had failed to clearly submit any information with regard to the identity of the investigative officers, who had threatened the second accused and observed that details have to be furnished properly, if a coordinated probe is to be conducted.

Taking the submissions into consideration, Judge Thotawatta stated that the trial proceedings will be kicked off, after reading out the charges filed against the accused and upon them pleading not guilty to the charges filed against them.

He mentioned that during the course of the trial, even if the accused were to change their original stance, such actions will not be disadvantageous to the prosecution.

The three accused, namely Ranawaka, Kumara and former OIC of the Welikada Police ASP Sudath Asmadala, who have been indicted on 16 counts, were present in Court yesterday.

Accordingly, the Court fixed further trial proceedings for 9 May and advised the second witness to the prosecution Siddiq Mohammad Suhai, to be present in Court on that date. Besides Maithri Guneratne, PCs Sarath Jayamanna and Anil Silva appeared for the defence.  

By Hansi Nanayakkara