|Senior Police officer’s deadly nexus with LTTE
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|Author:||Saman [ Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:41 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Senior Police officer’s deadly nexus with LTTE|
Senior Police officer’s deadly nexus with LTTE
Superintendent of Police Lakshman Cooray hails from Polonnaruwa. Cooray is a son of SLFP Member Saraneris Dayawansa, who was elected to North-Central PC as a SLFP Member in 1997 and was the Vice-President of the PC in 2004. He was educated at Polonnaruwa and on completion of his school education, he had obtained his external Bachelor of Arts (BA) following which he had enlisted with the Sri Lanka Police Department as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
On the morning of August 12, 2009 officers from Sri Lanka’s prime investigative unit, the Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) entered the Gampaha Police Station and walked into the Senior Superintendent’s office. They had a friendly chat with Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sarath Kumara. While engaged in this apparent cordial conversation, the TID sleuths told SSP Kumara that they wanted to meet Gampaha Sector 3 Superintendent of Police (SP) Lakshman Cooray.
Gampaha District is divided into three Police sectors. Sector three includes the areas of Weliweriya, Weeangula and Ganemulla. SSP Kumara summoned SP Cooray into his office.
The TID officials informed the SP Cooray that they had come to arrest him and asked him to cooperate with them. They also informed him that they had enough evidence to prove that he had direct contacts with the defeated Tamil Tigers and he was suspected of attempting to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa and commit other acts of terror in Colombo and its suburbs.
Following the arrest, the TID sleuths took SP Cooray to the TID head office, and began questioning him on his LTTE connections. Though at the beginning he denied any involvement with the Tigers, the TID officers made him aware that they already possessed enough information to prove his connections with the banned terrorist organisation.
In the history of the Sri Lankan police, this was the first time that a high ranking police officer was arrested for allegedly aiding terrorists. The arrest was made a week after the TID arrested two hardcore LTTE operatives from Arethusa Lane , Wellawatta on August 6. These two hardcore LTTE members had in their possession two suicide jackets, a micro pistol and several other equipment. One of the arrested members had been in Malaysia and had returned to the island a few days before the arrest. According to initial inquiries the LTTE member had come to Wellawatta from the Katunayake airport under the police protection provided by arrested SP Cooray.
Military intelligence had earlier alerted the Police about SP Cooray’s possible connection with the LTTE. However, not more than 24 hours after the arrest of the SP, the police were able to recover a powerful 15 kilo claymore mine buried in a play ground in Badulla, where the President’s helicopter was to land. Similarly, another bomb weighing five kilos was also recovered on the Mahiyangana-Badulla road, where the President’s vehicle convoy was to pass.
Investigations have also revealed that the suicide cadre, who blew himself at Weliveriya, where Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was killed, had been brought to the location allegedly by this arrested SP. Cooray had allegedly received Rs. 15 million to transport the Tiger suicide bomber to Weliveriya where former Highways Minister was assassinated.
At the time of the incident, he was holding the rank of an ASP and the bomber had been taken in his official Nissan Sunny car. It is learnt that the bomber had been in the Police officer’s vehicle until the time he exploded the bomb. Surprisingly, the ASP was in charge of the security of the event and minutes before the blast he had come out from the vehicle to enable the bomber to carry out the attack. Although the area security at that period had belonged to some other ASP the said ASP had volunteered to takeover the event’s security.
Investigations also revealed that he had planned to escape to U.K in a few weeks time where he had purchased a house . He also possessed several vehicles. Investigators are conducting further inquires whether there are other police or military personnel had links with him.
When analysts went through the video images obtained of the scene during and after the suicide bomb explosion which killed former Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, SP Cooray has been visible in the footages, standing well away on the opposite side of the road from where the blast occurred, apparently making sure to keep himself far from harms way.
This particular suicide blast on April 6, 2008 during the start off of a marathon race to celebrate the upcoming Sinhala and Tamil New Year, claimed the life of a popular Minister in the government, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and 14 others, including Sri Lanka’s marathon champion and Olympic participant K.A. Karunaratne, National Athletic Coach Lakshman Alwis and Minister Fernandopulle’s personal security officer – Chief Inspector K.D.R. Kannangara. It also injured over 90 other persons. Gampaha Division Senior Superintendent of Police Hector Dharmasiri too was critically injured in this incident.
Immediately following the explosion, SP Cooray had not shown any visible signs to raise any suspicions. He had returned to his station, possibly to await further instructions regarding his next mission.
Minister Jeyaraj had elped Lakshman Cooray get a transfer from Jaffna to Gampaha. After assuming duties as SP Gampaha, Cooray had volunteered to provide security to the Minister, when he attended a series of meetings in Gampaha. After the assassination, he had gone to the Gampaha hospital morgue and wept. He had said while crying, that he had lost a dear one who was a father to him.
The relationship between SP Lakshman Cooray and the LTTE was developed during the Peace Accord period after a Tiger leader by the name of Papa had visited and met with the Jaffna based top brass of the security forces and Police for discussions.
During the year 2005, Lakshman Cooray had been stationed as an Assistant Superintendent of Police in Jaffna. He was in Sector three, which includes Manipay, Chunnakam, Telippalai and Innuvil. It was apparently while serving in this area, that the LTTE had approached and absorbed this officer to the terrorist outfit’s benefit. During this stint of service too, Cooray has apparently passed sensitive information to the Tigers. During the afternoon of August 4, 2005, there was a massive ‘civilian’ protest at Innuvil. When the protestors had become restless and resorted to mob violence, Superintendent of Police for Jaffna, Charles Wijewardena was taken hostage and killed by LTTE.
A special team of sleuths was successful in apprehending a hard core LTTE cadre, Gopi, who was without one of his hands, said to have led the mob which to have killed SP Wijewardena. He was brought to Colombo and produced before the Fort Magistrate’s Court. When the CID produced him for an identification parade before the Police team that accompanied SP Wijewardena, they failed to identify him. At that time the Fort Magistrate was surprised Police constables couldn’t identify Gopi. It was a bit unusual that they failed to identify Gopi , as his missing arm would have been a dead give-away. Informed sources from the Police say that Lakshman Cooray who was the Jaffna ASP, had given these Police personnel strict instructions not to identify this hard core LTTE cadre as he had received instructions to save Gopi who was claimed by the LTTE as a vital member of the outfit.
Lakshman Cooray had made an unsuccessful attempt to join the presidential security division (PSD), investigations have revealed. He had failed in his bid to join the PSD because somebody had reported to the authorities that he was thoroughly incompetent and that he should never be part of the PSD.
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