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 Post Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 10:30 pm 

Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles

In one of the worst scandals of Sri Lanka the island republic is rocked by stories of the Police Chief of the nation T. E. Anandarajah maintaining a relationship with a leading dope dealer of the country and even attending a birthday bash of the narcotic king’s daughter in a five star hotel in Colombo.

Amidst threats of a political party to surround the police headquarters to paralyze the work of the police in protest and sensational stories appearing in the press of how police detectives themselves took in to their custody videos portraying the Police Chief, known as the Inspector General of Police (IGP) enjoying himself in the drug baron’s lavish party, the embattled police chief was publicly defended by John Ameratunga, the UNF government’s Minister of Interior who is in charge of the Police Department.

But the defense by the notorious John Ameratunga, himself alleged to be having connections with the underworld and the most notorious political thugs of the Western Province of the country did little to clear the name of the tarnished image of the IGP against whom posters were appearing all over the capital city declaring “Anandarajah was really a Dope Rajah!” Obviously, under his orders, special police teams were tearing down the posters from the city walls but it did not really help when a leading newspaper, the Divaina published the photo of the poster in their front pages.

The Lanka, a pro opposition newspaper said John Ameratunga, the UNF Minister, very close to the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe himself, was attempting his utmost to get the service contract of Anandarajah extended by one more year. The IGP, T.E. Anandarajah who will reach a compulsory retiring age of 60 on October 14 2003 has to receive a special extension from the government to serve another year in the same post.

Thilak Karunaratne, the leader of a small political party, Sihala Urumaya has threatened to surround the police headquarters with a great mass of protestors, if the government extended the police chief’s service. He alleged that the country’s IGP was not only connected with the dope dealers but also with the separatist rebels in the North, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The politician charged that when the LTTE brutally killed 678 surrendered policemen in the East, Anandarajah as the senior police officer in the East did nothing to save them. He also charged that when the LTTE negotiators arrived at the BIA at Katunayaka they transported contraband brought from abroad in a vehicle attached to the Police HQ.

The IGP Anandarajah’s excuse for attending the birthday bash of the dope king’s daughter where the narcotic dealer was the host and other senior police officers also attended was somewhat lame. The police chief said he and his wife attended the party on the invitation of one Udayan , the closest friend of the drug baron , Augustus Jesudasan . Udayan and the police chief happened to be from the same town of Kalmunai.

In fact Udayan, was fleeing one of the residences of Jesudasan, with the video depicting the police chief participating in the five star hotel birthday bash and other important documents when narcotics detectives of the police caught him in the nick of time. The arrest took place in the premises of a palatial house, owned by the drug baron Jesudasan. The birthday bash had taken place in March 2003. It is alleged that the other files carried by Udayan contained names of police officers to be promoted and transferred very soon.

When the video films and the documents were taken into custody, ironically, IGP T .E. Anandarajah was participating in an international Police conference of the Interpol’s General Assembly in Spain that also discussed ways and means to tackle international narcotics business.

When he returned from the conference, October 6, the whole country and his department was rocking with the scandal. When he returned to his office at 3 p.m. on the same day, there was a beeline of his subordinates to his office briefing him about the serious situation.

It was on the next day he and his minister, John Ameratunga, held the press conference and told the media that the IGP was innocent He also visited Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and told him of his innocence.

But insiders said President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who happens to be the leader of the opposition SLFP, was refusing to grant him an interview readily like the more sympathetic Prime Minister. Even yesterday the IGP was trying to meet the President, sources said. The scandal also broke out at the worst time. There are only few days more till the President finally Okays his extension of service. The Sunday Times newspaper said, anyway, President Chandrika Kumaratunga has decided to give her final approval about the extension of Anandarajah’s service.

His explanation was that he did not know the drug baron Jesudasan at all and only went there uninvited by the host of the five star hotel party and on the insistence of Udayan. But unfortunately for him, Udayan also happens to be a drug dealer.

Police Headquarters sources said Jesudasan, who pretended the world that he was a only a jewelry merchant entered the narcotics business about five years ago and police records clearly showed the fact. Sihala Urumaya sources said, that there was no reason why Anandarajah did not know about Jesudasan, when the drug baron’s name appeared prominently in the suspect lists of the police. They said, in fact the drug baron’s name took the seventh place in a confidential police list.

The alleged best friend of the IGP, Udayan, the same sources said, was the best friend and ally of the drug baron both in jewelry and narcotics businesses.

When Jesudasan heard the detection of half a kilogram of heroin near IDH by the Police he fled. He is alleged to have contacted Udayan on his cell phone asking his ally to collect the videos and documents for him. Police sources said Udayan was fleeing with the video and documents from one of the drug baron’s houses when he was arrested.

According to the lists dealing with promotions and transfers found in the files carried by Udayan and other information, Jesudasan was powerful enough to obtain promotions and transfers to police officers and was highly influential and well respected among high police officers.

Meanwhile police sources said the drug baron was also connected with the LTTE. Apart from Anandarajah, several other policemen serving in Colombo, lawyers and businessmen involved in shady deals were also seen in the drug baron’s daughter’s birthday bash as depicted in the video.

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