Wattala Police Lightning Strike That Nabbed Extortion Racket

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Criminals will eventually be caught in the face of modern technology and skilled Police investigators, no matter how hard they try to evade arrest.

A successful investigation was recently conducted with the collaboration of several groups, including the Wattala Police, and the officers were able to arrest the suspects who committed the crime within 12 hours.

The Police team was able to arrest the suspects who kidnapped the eldest son of a millionaire residing in Kandana during this investigation. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of Rs 5.6 million.

The criminals were unable to get the ransom of Rs 5.6 million credited to the bank account due to the successful investigation of the Police Officers. The Police had already blocked the bank account, making it impossible to withdraw funds.

Following are the events that transpired, according to the Wattala Police Station:

Nadun Kaushalya Wijesinghe, 22, is a young man. His father is a multimillionaire and the owner of a number of fuel stations. Nadun is the eldest son.

On 27 August, Nadun Kaushalya arrived at a photography studio in Wattala’s Hekitta area to take some photographs for a friend who was abroad. It was around 11:00 a.m. On completing the task, Nadun tried to get into his Range Rover, which was parked in front of the photo studio.

All of a sudden, four people confronted him and prevented him from getting into the driver’s seat. They forced him into the back seat of his vehicle. One of the four abductors took the wheel and began driving towards Negombo.

A three-wheeler driver known to Nadun Kaushalya noticed the vehicle passing Wattala and heading towards Negombo.

“When the three-wheeler driver saw this young man being abducted, he screamed, but the group sped off. The witness had also seen an ‘Every’ van following the Range Rover. He had informed the boy’s father immediately,” a Police Investigator said.

Nadun Kaushalya’s father spared no time and contacted the 119 Police Emergency Unit and rushed to the Wattala Police Station.

At that time, the Wattala OIC was engaged in a discussion attended by the officers, and with the occurrence of the incident, Mahinda Dissanayake, Senior Inspector General of Police in charge of Western North, had taken steps to release the OIC and instructed him to investigate the incident immediately.

Following this, Kaushalya’s father had met the Wattala OIC and filed a complaint regarding his son’s abduction and the OIC had informed Police stations islandwide.

Other Police stations had also taken steps to set up roadblocks and the OIC had gone to Hekitta to inspect the location where the young man was kidnapped. Meanwhile, officers rang the mobile phone of the abducted young man, but it was disconnected, and this hindered investigations.

However, another team of Police Officers had checked the CCTV cameras that were installed on the Hekitta-Negombo main road. They tracked the route of the Range Rover.

Around 1:00 p.m., Wattala Police received a phone call.

“Sir… a white Range Rover has been abandoned in Ja-Ela city.” The Police team rushed to the scene and located the vehicle.

“After that, we kept only the exit gate open and closed all the other gates and searched every vehicle nearby. The Forensics Department was notified and they dusted for fingerprints.”

“Meanwhile, the CCTV cameras in the area were also checked. From the footage, we found two people coming to the area and parking the jeep. We tried to identify those two people.”

‘Every’ van 

The Police team’s next step was to identify the ‘Every’ van that followed the Range Rover. Based on CCTV footage and the information obtained from the three-wheeler driver, the officers forwarded the number of the van to the Department of Motor Traffic and Peliyagoda Division Criminal Investigation Officers were directed to investigate the incident.

Accordingly, the team was able to identify the owner of the vehicle as a resident of Niwasipura, Ja-Ela. However, the whereabouts of the house owner was unknown.

Several Police teams engaged in a thorough investigation with the help of the abducted youth’s father.

Later, a call had been received on the mobile phone of the businessman. Its number was mentioned as 072——-. On the other end was Nadun, the millionaire businessman’s son.

“Father I am fine. They are asking for Rs 5.6 million to release me. Give the money to them. Give the money somehow father.”

At that time, the Wattala OIC was also listening to the call. On his advice, the businessman answered the phone call.

“Okay, I’ll give them the money. Tell them not to bother you son. I will definitely put money and I will save you,” replied the businessman father.

Since then, the Wattala OIC had informed the DIG and the Senior DIG of all these developments and had taken further action according to their instructions. Meanwhile, the number used by the son to contact his father was also investigated and the location of the call was triangulated.

Another call was received from the same number.

“We will identify the number, inform them that it will take some time to put the money,” the Wattala OIC advised the businessman.

The Police wanted to save the young man. The officials suspected that the young man might be harmed if the abductors knew that the Police were involved. Therefore, the officials tried to buy some time by getting the father to make calls.

“I cannot find Rs 5.6 million immediately. I will deposit the money within an hour. I’m not lying. I will give it, but don’t hurt my son,” the businessman told the abductors on the advice of the Police. Meanwhile, they were also given the account number where the money should be deposited. The officers found that it was a Government bank account number.

Later, the officials contacted the bank and informed them about the situation and instructed them to freeze the account, so that the abductors would be unable to withdraw the ransom.

“We wanted to show that we had deposited the amount they asked for, so that they would release the youth without any harm. Therefore, we deposited the full amount in the account. However, we had no idea from which branch they would make the withdrawal. That is why officers were deployed everywhere in Seeduwa, Wattala, Kandana, and Ja-Ela, where bank branches are located, to see if the money will be withdrawn, and to catch the suspects red handed.”

“But we had stopped them from withdrawing money from the bank account,” a Police Investigator said.

In the course of the investigation, the owner of the ‘Every’ van, who helped to kidnap the youth was also arrested by Police.

Later, the officers who launched the investigation had searched several houses where they had taken the youth. A house in Niwasipura was also searched. Officers even had to jump over a wall.

Meanwhile, the Police team received information that the kidnapped youth had been released. That was with the crediting of Rs 5.6 million to the bank account number provided by the kidnappers.

The abducted youth, who was put into a three-wheeler in Seeduwa, was released in Ja-Ela, where the Range Rover was abandoned. The Police team seized the three-wheeler, but the driver claimed innocence.

By then, the Police team had identified everyone involved in the kidnapping.

Mastermind

The Police received information that the mastermind of the whole incident was at a bus stand, ready to escape to Chilaw. Accordingly, a team of officers attached to the Wattala Police immediately rushed to arrest the suspect. Another suspect was also rounded up with the suspect. It came to light that they were driving the Range Rover.

During interrogation, it was revealed that the suspect was the owner of the bank account number provided to make the deposit. Police Officers who made the arrest took him to his home in Kimbulapitiya.

“This is the contractor of this game. Between the suspect and the millionaire businessman, the businessman had not given him a commission related to a business transaction. That is why he had given a contract and raises his son to extort Rs 5.6 million.”

“We then arrested the suspect and took his bank card. Later, we went to the Kimbulapitiya house and seized his bankbook. Even if he had them, he could not withdraw the amount. We had halted the transaction. So far, we have arrested eight people related to this incident after questioning him. We wanted to rescue the businessman’s son. For that, we formulated a plan and showed that amount of money had been deposited in the account. We first identified all the criminals. But we did not arrest anyone because the abducted youth would be harmed. As soon as the youth was released, we arrested everyone. The DIG and Senior DIG also provided words of encouragement. We fixed everything by 12:00 midnight. If we panicked, they would have harmed the child,” Wattala OIC, Lalith Silogama said.

Three more people are to be arrested in connection with the incident. The team including the Wattala OIC were praised by the Senior DIG for rescuing the abducted youth unharmed and rounding up the suspects without releasing the ransom of Rs 5.6 million.

Under the supervision of Senior DIG in charge of the Western Province Deshabandu Tennakoon, DIG of Western North Mahinda Dissanayake, Senior Superintendent of Police in charge of Kelaniya Division Krishantha, Assistant Superintendent of Police Prasanna Silva, Wattala OIC, Chief Inspector of Police Lalith Silogama, Chief Criminal Investigation Division Station Commander Sandanuwan and others, Sub-Inspector Sanjeeva, Herath, Silva, Senanayake, Constables Amila and Jayawardena, and the team conducted investigations in this regard.

This article is based on the Police investigation.

By Keerthi Mendis, Mithun Jayawardena, and Prasanga Pawuluhewa (Ja-Ela)