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 Post subject: The feared Kelaniya killer meets his waterloo
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:21 am 
The feared Kelaniya killer meets his waterloo

@ Sunday Island / 30Oct2005
by Hemantha Randunu


They were called the Dias brothers. Pradeep Dias and Nero Dias were cousins, not brothers, but comrades in arms, doing a very dangerous and lucrative job on the wrong side of the law. They lived in Kelaniya, usually a more peaceful area than other suburbs of Colombo. But soon the people of the locality began to live in terror of the Dias brothers, running their crime syndicate.

By the year 2000 there was hardly any resident of the locality who had not heard of the syndicate or feared the two men whose companions were the rising stars of the crime scene like Prince Kolums, Eta Indika, Thoppi Chaminda, and Kota Gamini among others, the most ruthless and notorious underworld killers.

Dias brothers instilled fear into the law abiding residents of the Kelaniya area and by the year 1999 these two had already started executing people for promise of a large sums of money.

A youth of Eriyawetiya, on the outskirts of Kiribathgoda was killed by Nero Dias and his gang in 1999. It was a case of contract killing but the Dias brothers had influence over some corrupt police officers and of course escaped the long arm of the law.

A man with a sobriquet Batta had joined the Dias brothers syndicate by this time. Batta had lot of connections with traders in Colombo. There was a young businessman Ariyapala Mudalali whose business was burgeoning and also making rival businessmen envious of him. It was then that some businessmen not happy at seeing their rival prosper in business, decided to get rid of Ariyapala Mudalali.

‘If this man continued to grow like this in his business soon we will all be wiped out. We should get him killed,’ they decided.

Batta was approached by the rival businessmen to get Ariyapala Mudalali killed. Batta arranged for them to meet a Colombo underworld figure Damma and discuss the issue. Damma advised them to get the Dias brothers syndicate since Ariyapala was living in Kelaniya. Damma next acted as the middle man to arrange the ‘contract’ and the amount to be paid to the Dias brothers gang was also named but when Damma asked the Dias brothers for a commission for his part in the affair a dispute arose over the amount with either side not prepared to budge from their demand.

Before long Damma was killed at Ragama but Peliyagoda police special crime detection branch arrested Pradeep and Nero Dias and both were remanded.

After spending some months in the Remand Prison both of them were released. They came back home to Kelaniya and started their usual terror activities. At this time a man who had been employed in Italy for some years had come to Kelaniya with considerable wealth in his possession. He opened a plush restaurant ‘Italiano’ in Kelaniya and was known to be a generous employer. Soon the restaurateur Jagath had a telephone call from the Dias brothers syndicate.

"We don’t like you doing business in the Kelaniya area where nothing happens without our knowledge or support. You will have to close your restaurant and leave this area, or else you know what will happen to you," the Dias syndicate threatened him several times. But Jagath was not frightened.

Jagath soon contacted a ‘very big fish’ in the underworld Moratu Saman who was more notorious than the local gang. He told Moratu Saman he was under threat from the Dias brothers.

"Don’t worry about it anymore. I will not let them do anything to you." Moratu Saman assured Jagath. After that Moratu Saman came to see Jagath very often and they became good friends but annoying the Dias brothers who began to hate Jagath for associating with a strong underworld figure. They now decided to kill Jagath at any cost. Soon Moratu Saman was killed by Eta Idika gang over a local gang rivalry and the Dias brothers now were certain Jagath was a dead man.

Jagath was shot dead near the Kelani Raja Maha Vihara Shrine sending shock waves through all residents of Kelaniya. Their dread of the Dias brothers hit a new high. Dias brothers had also started supporting a PA deputy minister of the Gamapaha District during this period and they also promised the politico their support in the current Presidential election campaign. Especially Pradeep Dias became close to the politico and the latter in turn helped him whenever there was court case against Pradeep Dias in all possible ways including misleading the prosecutors.

Pradeep Dias had the habit of entertaining his friends and members of friendly gangs at least twice a week with free liquor flowing with good food served lavishly. Two weeks back too he had a party at home with several criminal elements in attendance but on this day the liquor was running out towards the small hours of the night. The next day was Vap full moon day, a very special holy day for the Residents of the Kelaniya who are predominantly Buddhist.

Pradeep Dias, after midnight was becoming more and more boisterous and drunk. He started bragging about his role in the election campaign in the locality. The whole atmosphere was silent as all the people were in deep sleep other than Nero Dias and his party.

"Tonight has been very jolly, and I feel I could drink some more. Let us get down at least one more bottle of arrack" Pradeep Dias said.

"But it is past midnight now. Where can we get any arrack at this time since all bars and liquor shops will be closed now?" Saujan one of his closest associates from a Maligawatte gang asked.

"This is Kelaniya. What can’t we do here? Wait. I will get a bottle of Arrack now." Pradeep Dias said while pulling out a 1000 rupee currency note from his purse. He called two of his assistants. "Now both of you go to Terrance and get a bottle of Arrack."

Terrance was a man living in Himbutuwelgoda, a hamlet on Kandy Road, Kelaniya. He was physically disabled and sold arrack at home for a living.

The two assistants got on a motor cycle and went to Himbutuwelgoda as fast as possible. They got off opposite Terrance’s house and banged on his door.

"We want a bottle of arrack for Pradeep Mahattaya. Give us a bottle."

The assistants shouted into the closed house. Terrance woke up from his slumber.

"What arrack at this time of the night? Come tomorrow morning and I will give you even a gallon of arrack." Terrance said.

"So you don’t take orders from our boss? We came to buy arrack not to ask for a free drink. If you don’t give it to us you will learn your mistake," one of the assistants threatened Terrance.

"If I have no arrack now how can I sell you any. I don’t care who your boss is but you cannot have any arrack now even if your boss is God himself. You can come in the morning if you want." Terrance shouted back.

The assistant, now furious over the refusal to sell arrack, called Pradeep Dias on his cellular phone and complained about the reply he had from Terrance.

Pradeep Dias was provoked as never before and he could not imagine anyone living in Kelaniya daring to refuse his request.

Just then Pradeep Dias asked his assistant to give the cellular phone to Terrance’s wife who had opened a window to see what all the shouting was about.

"Give the phone to the woman." Pradeep Dias ordered his assistant who gave the phone to Terrance’s wife.

"Gentleman, this is no time to sell arrack. Moreover it is now almost dawn of Bak Poya day. Ask these boys of yours to stop shouting and leave this place." The wife replied on the phone.

That was all Pradeep Dias needed to hear. His annoyance saw no bounds and more than that he felt belittled in front of some of his guests who were also members of other killer gangs. He stepped out of the house. Started his brand new motorcycle and sped towards Himbutuwelgoda.

As Pradeep Dias got off his motorcycle with Maligawatta Saujan who was on the pillion the former whipped out his revolver. He walked up to the door of Terrance’s house and fired two shots on the lock of the door. The shots rang into the silent night while Pradeep Dias shouted, "This bugger dared to make me come to his feet just for bottle of Arrack. I will teach you a good lesson today!" he threatened Terrance, with his revolver aimed at Terrance’s head. His two assistants and Saujan were looking on.

Next door to Terrance’s was a funeral. Several youth and many other friends and relations of that family were keeping vigil over the dead but most of them were dozing off. The sound of the shots and shouting had alarmed them and they knew the noise came from Terrance’s house. Among the mourners was Premachandra, Terrance’s brother.

"Someone is threatening my brother and the gunshots also came from that direction," Premachandra told the others.

The group of villagers with Premachandra rushed to Terrance’s and saw Pradeep Dias training his gun on Terrance. Premachandra rushed on Pradeep Dias with two other young men and held Pradeep Dias but the latter was fighting to hold on to the gun. In the melee Pradeep Dias who knew the game was up fired a shot at Premachandra while still struggling with three men. Premachandra fell with a fatal wound on his head but the young men did not give Pradeep Dias, the ruthless killer to do commit one more crime. They overpowered him and with clubs and swords the villagers had brought they hit him on the head till he breathed no more. The two assistants were also hacked by the villagers with clubs and swords. The Maligawatta gangster Saujan who did not join the fight but was watching it at a comfortable distance, perhaps in the belief that discretion is the better part of valour melted into the night and fled the area walking and running by turns.

On receiving a call from a neighbour about the incident Headquarters Inspector of the Peliyagoda police Kumarapeli rushed to the scene with his policemen and sent the injured to hospital.

One more notorious killer, Pradeep Dias went the way all ruthless criminals go. Dias brothers syndicate is no more with the more brutal of the two gone. The law abiding residents of Kelaniya heaved a sigh of relief.


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