Setting ablaze Army bus


The suspect arrested by the CID, for allegedly torching an Army bus in front of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s private residence in Mirihana, was remanded until 27 May by the Nugegoda Chief Magistrate.

The suspect was identified as Pallegeyaya Ajith Padmakumara, a resident of Deraniyagala.

The suspect was produced in Court by a team of CID Officers, including Inspector Thusitha and Sub Inspector Keerthi.

The Magistrate informed the CID that the Court was not satisfied with the suspect’s arrest  in light of photographs circulating on social media or other electronic channels. He said a suspect should be arrested only after a thorough investigation.

The Magistrate informed the CID that if there were any other suspects involved in the incident, they should be arrested and produced in Court immediately, and if not, warrants would be issued for their arrest.

After drawing attention to a statement made by the CID, the Magistrate informed the officers that the suspect was also arrested for studying photographs published on social media and other electronic channels, and that statements have been obtained from over 50 suspects regarding this incident, with statements to be obtained from approximately five more people.

The CID also informed the Court that, despite being a resident of Deraniyagala, the suspect worked as an employee at a spare parts shop in Mirihana.

The CID told the Court that he arrived at the scene on the night of the incident and that photographs showed that he had set fire to the Army bus.

The CID informed the Court that the suspect had called his wife in Deraniyagala and informed her that he was involved in the incident, and that the CID is also recording a statement from the suspect’s brother in this regard.

Attorneys-at-Law Keerthi Udawatte and Kalinga Hewawasam, who appeared for the suspect, noted that the main suspect in the case was identified as ‘Arabi Wasantha,’ and that the CID had arrested an innocent man who had nothing to do with the incident.

Lawyers told the Court that the entire country had seen the well-built man who set the bus on fire while wearing canvas shoes and a T-shirt, but that anyone who sees the person arrested by the CID and produced in Court will believe that he is an innocent person who is not of such height.

According to the two lawyers, the CID illegally arrested the man by comparing photos posted on social media and other Media outlets without conducting a formal investigation into the incident.

The lawyers said the CID arrested the suspect while he was travelling in a bus to seek medical treatment for his wife, which was a violation of human rights.

The Magistrate concentrated on both parties’ submissions and then remanded the suspect until 27 May and ordered that the other suspects be arrested and produced in Court without delay.

By Kumudu Upul Shantha