The rise and fall of Gonawila Sunil
Gonawila Sunil also known as Kotte Sunil was a notorious convicted criminal, a thug and a strong supporter of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was convicted of raping a 14-year old girl in Colombo. J.R. Jayewardene using his presidential powers released Gonawila Sunil, the rapist within six months of serving his term in prison before the 1982 presidential election. When asked why it was done, the President replied: “Because I have the power to do so!” After his pardon UNP made Gonawala Sunil an all Island JP as well.
When Ranil was the minister of education, Sunil virtually controlled the Ministry. At that time, admission of children to a popular school was not an issue with a letter given by Gonawala Sunil.
Eventually Gonawala Sunil became an embarrassment to Wickremesinghe and he died under mysterious circumstances.
According to reports, the notorious underground character Gonawala Sunil also had a leading role in the 1983 Massacre of Tamil prisoners. The following (PA) government failed to institute any action immediately after the publication of the news items related to this massacre.
The most intriguing feature in this sordid episode related with Gonawila Sunil was another news item that appeared on May 20, 2000, again in the Daily News - "Kotte Sunil dies in shoot-out". The news item read as follows:
"An underworld leader, Kotte Sunil, who escaped the Kelaniya Police shooting on May 3, where four gangsters were killed, was yesterday morning killed in a shootout with a special police team attached to Nugegoda Police division.
"According to investigations directed by the Western Province [South] D I G Jayantha Wickremaratne, Kotte Sunil was killed at his residence at Mission Road, Kotte.
"D I G Wickremaratne said that the special police party cordoned off the area where Kotte Sunil was living and attempted to arrest him without firing at him. But immediately on seeing the police team, Kotte Sunil threw several hand bombs at the police team. Police had to open fire killing him on the spot, D I G Wickremaratne said.
"Earlier, four members of the underworld gang were killed in a shootout with the police party at Gonawela in the Kelaniya police area. They were identified as Pugoda Gallege Rohan Chamith Perera, W D Chaminda Tilak, H Don Sumith Sujeewa and K P Hercules Priyadharshana.
"In this instance, a special police team led by Inspector Muditha Nishantha circled the area where the gang was hiding and attempted to arrest them. The gang thought that a rival group had come to attack them and opened fire. The police retaliated, killing all four gang leaders who were living in a bunker. The most wanted gang leader 'Kotte Sunil' escaped during the shoot out. Senior S P Gamini Karunatilake with Chief Inspector Nimal Ratnayake, H Q I Mirihana police and S I Malagoda are assisting in the investigation."
The story looks unobtrusive, but within the lines it is clear there is a mysterious streak. Gonawala Sunil and his gang were gunned down and those behind the criminal actions of Sunil and his gang managed to buy the silence of the culprits permanently. The masters engaged the services of Gonawila Sunil and his gang may be still alive and kicking and wielding power and position. They are still able to get rid of those who could speak against them.
Kotte Sunil's alleged mistress spills the beans
@ Sunday Leader / 07th May 2000
By Felician Goonewardene
In the aftermath of killing four underworld gang leaders at Kelaniya, investigators on Thursday swooped down on one of their safe houses and took into custody a woman alleged to be the mistress of the gang leader Kotte Sunil, police said.
The woman taken to custody from the Gonawala underworld safe house disclosed information about her boyfriend Kotte Sunil, police said.
The woman under investigation revealed that she had got friendly with Kotte Sunil about two years back and was living with him in the house that was raided. She further said she knew that Sunil and the gang were involved in many murders and crimes and the gang used the house as the meeting place.
Four underworld members were killed on a shooting sphere at Gonawala, Kelaniya last Wednesday around 3a.m. police said.
The four killed were all between 18 and 25 years, and were living in a safe house belonging to Kotte Sunil.
Superintendent of Police Willie Abeynayake along with Sub Inspector Asoka Bandara, Kelaniya OIC, conducted the investigation along with the Negombo police under Deputy Inspector General, North, Daya Jayasundara.
After the four suspects were killed, police recovered five luxury vehicles and took into custody Kotte Sunil's mistress Sriyani.
According to Kotte Sunil's mistress, she had studied in a leading school in Kelaniya and had worked in UAE for more than ten years. On her return through a friend she had come to know Sunil and started a love affair with him.
Sunil had purchased this house for her for about Rs.3 lakhs about two years ago she revealed to the police, SP Abeynayake told The Sunday Leader. She further said later on she had come to know about Sunil's crimes when the members of the gang came to the safe house to hold discussion.
The police came to the scene and on inspection found the house was like a bunker DIG Jayasundara said.
Arms and ammunition they used was also taken to custody.
Kotte Sunil, the main suspects is evading police arrest.
The DIG further said that the Negombo police had arrested a suspect who had described the safe house and requested the Kelaniya police for assistance.
SP Abeynayake said that when he questioned the mother of a dead youth she had said that her son was missing for the last three months and he had informed home that he was all right and not to worry about him. Other members have told their parents that they were working in a garage.