|Baddegana Sanjeewa : A murdered murderer
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|Author:||Nissanka [ Sun Sep 04, 2005 7:34 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Baddegana Sanjeewa : A murdered murderer|
A murdered murderer
© Reporters Without Borders 2004
Source: Unpunished Crimes of the Presidential Security Division (PSD)
Several suspects in Rohana Kumara's murder-some of whom worked directly for the PSD-have since died under shady circumstances.
Baddegana Sanjeewa is without question the central figure in this case. Formerly a bodyguard for Chandrika Kumaratunga when she was the chief minister of the Western Province, he joined the PSD after she became the President in 1994. A ruthless man with close ties to Colombo's mafia circles, he soon became the PSD's designated "dirty job" expert. Several testimonies obtained by Victor Ivan and Reporters without Borders describe him as being directly responsible for murdering the journalist, as well as a vocal Tamil lawyer Kumar Ponnampalam, and for assaulting several other information professionals. But he cannot speak up or be sentenced, because he, too, was murdered on 2 November 2001. The police found his body, riddled with six bullet holes. A PSD identification card was in one of his pockets. The PSD had dismissed him a few weeks prior to his murder. According to several sources, this provided a way for some Presidential Security Division's elite officers to save face.
Victims of several other assaults and murder attempts recognised Baddegana Sanjeewa and several journalists knew of his affiliation with the PSD. In particular, Baddegana Sanjiva had been involved in the attack on musician Rookantha Gunathilaka and his wife, singer Chandralekha Perera. The latter had identified him.
He is also thought to have participated in several PSD-ordered assaults, notably in June 1998, when intruders armed with machine-guns attacked the home of Lasantha Wickramatunga, Editor of The Sunday Leader weekly, and a smoke bomb was thrown into the Ravaya weekly's office in Colombo. Actress Anoja Weerasinghe, yet another PSD victim, stated to Victor Ivan that the inquiry into her assault had been blocked by S.B. Dissanayaka, the Sports Minister of Chandrika Kumaratunga's regime, who crossed over to the UNP camp in the 2001 elections. After being informed of the suspicious activities of these PSD elements, S.B. Dissanayaka allegedly used his influence to stall the investigation.
In December 2001, The Sunday Leader weekly published two articles implicating the PSD and President Chandrika Kumaratunga. "This is completely false and fabricated information," she claimed in a letter to the Inspector General of the state police, whom she advised to initiate an "impartial investigation."
Several witnesses assert that Baddegana Sanjeewa was about to publicly denounce the PSD's unlawful practices, which was why he was eliminated. The PSD agent responsible for killing him, Dhammika Amarasinghe, was himself murdered in January 2004, inside the Magistrate's Courts of Colombo, by an Army deserter Sirivardanage Camindakumara. Brought in for questioning by police, he was to serve as a witness in several cases implicating the President's security services.
Date : 2002-08-22
Baddegana Sanjeewa was more powerful than a minister — SB
Sumadhu Weerawarne and Kesara Abeywardena - The Island
In Parliament on Tuesday -No-Confidence Motion against Interior Minister John Amaratunga - The second day of the debate continued with the government and the opposition trading customary charges against each other. The opposition accused the Interior Minister of not taking action against those responsible for violence during the general election and the Local Government election. The government speakers focused mainly on the atrocities of the PSD and other malpractices of the PA regime during the last seven years.
Commenting on the conduct of the police in the past eight months John Seneviratne (PA — Ratnapura District) said that it had greatly deteriorated.
He said that the PA had spoken of Soththi Upali as the UNP was speaking of Sanjeewa. This he said was to no purpose.
He pointed out that there were many violations by the police to the extent that it was giving protection to unsavoury characters.
He also recalled the abduction of two soldiers by a vigilante group immediately after the elections. He said that the government had unleashed violations against PA members.
He observed that it was difficult for the PA to support the government because of its vengeful acts. "Our support is sought even as our members are made to suffer", he said.
He gave the example of cases relating to election violations implicating UNP allies being withdrawn despite the availability of evidence.
He said that in Ratnapura alone there were over 500 cases of election violence, including destruction of houses of PA allies. "The police must be instructed to take action to stem this. Apart from a few officers, the others are too afraid to do anything", he said.
He pointed out that the government transferred a number of officers in charge of police stations, violating the government’s pledge to not effect transfers prior to the establishment of the Police Commission.
He said that the police were demoralised and biased.
On the abuse of legal provision, he said that the Offensive Weapons Act was being used to arrest persons after placing explosives in their custody.
Quoting data S. B. Dissanayake (Minister of Agriculture and Samurdhi) said that the crime rate had dropped since Minister John Amaratunga took over.
He acted that abductions, arson, grievous injury, attempted murder and murder among others had all decreased since Minister Amaratunga took over the ministry.
He recalled the high-handed actions of certain police officers that went unpunished during the PA regime. He said that DIG Punya de Silva went unpunished even though he was faulted in a fundamental rights case filed by Minister Rajitha Seneviratne.
He gave the example of a helicopter tender for which Hemas had made the lowest bid. "The head of the company was detained at the request of Balapatabendi and Ratwatte. I. V. Sumanasekera was faulted in a fundamental rights petition but no action was taken.
He explained that the police had been removed from the defence portfolio to change its role in the eyes of the people. The police constantly deal with people. We want to remove the war mentality from the minds of the people", he said.
On comments on Premadasa Udugampola he said that Udugampola offered 20 policemen to the PA in 1992. It was Nihal Karunaratne who headed the group. ‘This is how Baddegane Sanjeewa too gained entry. There was a time Baddegane Sanjeewa would answer the phone if a call was made to President’s House", he said.
He added that all appointments of O/Ls was on the recommendation of Sanjeewa. "He had more powers than MPs", he said.
He said that there was an officialdom on one hand run by K. Balapatabendi and Chandananda de Silva and a Deputy Defence Minister who would not meet MPs on the other. "Anuruddha Ratwatte holds the record for not meeting any MPs in the last seven years. That is why he resorted to violence to win elections", he said.
He contrasted this with the conduct of John Amaratunga whom he said was accessible to any MP, both government and opposition. He said that it was regrettable that the no-confidence motion was being presented at a time the minister was trying to revamp the structure in its entirely.
He alleged that many members of the PA were being forced to support a motion which they don’t agree with.
Nihal Galappaththi (JVP — Hambantota) said that Minister Amaratunga is fast creating a police state for himself and is acting like the Baron in that principality. "I would like to ask the minister whether he is the minister of the Interior for the whole country or the minister for the rest of the country excluding the North-East".
He insisted that Minister Amaratunga should be banished from the country. He charged that the police force is becoming politicised and most of the police officers are working to please government politicians in order to get promotions.
Pledging confidence of the SLMC to the Interior Minister, Rauf Hakeem (Minister of Port Development) said that the entire thrust of the motion has collapsed.
He stressed that the government created a special ministry of the Interior to handle the police in order to reform the whole system. "The creation of the Interior Ministry shows a paradigm shift in the action of the police department".
He said that there is no substantial charge against the minister or ministry made by the opposition during the course of this debate.
He stressed that the Government and the Attorney General’s Department had never objected to the granting of bail to opposition MPs. "This has been the position of the Prime Minister", he said.
On the large number of crimes taking place in the vicinity of the Colombo city he said that the large number of hardcore criminals out on bail had contributed to this increase. "In Colombo Central there are 83, in Nugegoda there are 27. These people were not released during the time of this government. Many narcotics dealers in Colombo are at large. It is only the small peddlers that are arrested." He added that all politicians should desist from giving patronage to underworld criminals.
Noting that the no-faith motion was baseless Mahinda Wijesekera (Minister of Fisheries) said that the poor opposition presence was indicative that the opposition had little faith in its no-confidence motion.
He said that the minister was on a programme to restructure a police force that is on a low ebb. On incidents of highhandedness of the police, he said that it had to be understood that part of the force were a law unto themselves. "This is the case with our police. What can the minister do? Give him the space to bring about the necessary changes," he said.
On rising crime he said it was inadequate to look at it as requiring stringent police action. "We must alleviate poverty. We must bring economic development. There must also be social rehabilitation," he said.
He conceded that there were problems, but they were not condemned by the minister. "He has a big task and it takes time to set in the necessary changes. We must support him," he said.
Accusing the minister for treating questions raised by opposition MPs as a joke, S. M. Chandrasena (PA — Anuradhapura) called on the government to conduct investigations into the complaints made by opposition members.
He maintained that the discipline in the police force has totally collapsed and the police department has steeped onto such a level where the IGP is publicly arguing with a senior DIG.
He observed that if the police failed to do justice to the innocent people, they will lose confidence in the whole law enforcement machinery.
Asserting that the no-faith motion was necessitated by rising violence in the country Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena (Matara District) said that this was no personal reflection of the minister.
He gave examples of both police inaction and politically motivated action.
He said the former Chairman of the Pasgoda Pradeshiya Sabha was arrested on false allegations at the behest of a rival MP. "The policeman does this to gain the local politician’s support for the next promotion," he said.
The efficiency of the police came in for comment. He gave the example of a Rs. 0.5 million robbery, where the police who were informed of the incident just minutes after, arrived only in the evening. "They came in the evening to investigate something that happened in the morning and wanted to know in which direction robbers fled," he said.
He recalled DIG Kotakadeniya’s observation that there was a nexus between criminals and police. "If we don’t ask you for explanation, whom can we ask," he said.
Observing that the police was responsible for law and order Chandrasena Wijesinghe (JVP) said that it was acting according to political interest instead.
He gave the example of the police officer attending the opening of an LTTE propaganda in Wellaveli, Batticaloa on August 3. "He was the OIC," he said adding that his act was in violation of constitutional provisions barring the abetment of attempts to create a separate state within Sri Lanka.
"The LTTE stands for a separate state. No action was taken against the officer," he said calling for the resignation of the Interior Minister. "He must take responsibility and resign," he said.
He also gave examples of politically motivated transfers, pointing out that the pledge to not do such was broken.
He also called for a full investigation into the murder of father Aba Costa before the Interior Minister takes the portfolio of Christian Affairs.
-The Island -
Date : 2002-08-21
Baddegane Sanjeewa was top security officer not allowed famous criminal during PA regime — Rajitha
Kesara Abeywardena - The Island
The opposition presented a no-confidence motion on Interior Minister John Amaratunga citing harassment of opposition party activists using the law enforcement machinery.
However the government side maintained an edge over the opposition during the debate. They lashed out at the PA revealing many malpractice and illegal activities that had taken place during the past seven years using the state machinery.
Opening the debate Nimal Siripala de Silva (PA Badulla) charged that the UNP after six months of coming to office have begun a witchhunt on opposition members.
"Today there are countless charges concocted against opposition members to stifle their actions. There is violence unleashed against opposition activists. We are going to raise this with the visiting Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and the visiting British Parliamentary delegation".
He said that the no-faith motion was presented with no personal grudge against Minister Amaratunga but for the lack of interest shown by him in bringing culprits to book in order to establish law and order in the country.
"Minister John Amaratunga has kicked the law aside and is behaving in a manner totally unsuitable for a minister. The citizens of this country are fast losing confidence in the administration of law."
Citing a case in the Supreme Court he said the court had ruled that Minister Amaratunga has violated the human rights of "sand lifters" in Wattala. He said that soon after Minister Amaratunga assumed office he had removed the existing "sand lifters" to be replaced by those favoured by him.
"The minister has gone to the extent of even violating the rights of innocent people and the Supreme Court has given a ruling against him."
He charged that over 3500 incident of violence against opposition members during the election were reported but they were not investigated. "We met the Prime Minister on this issue. Then a committee was appointed headed by Minister Karu Jayasuriya. But nothing materialised. The minister said they cannot be responsible for the wrong doing of grassroots level members of the UNP in the villages."
He said a report had been complied by a team of lawyers from the SLFP collecting all complaints during election time. That report, he said has been sent to many international lobbies.
He added that Pradeshiya Sabhas in Ja-Ela, Wattala and Atakalampanna were disrupted by government soon.
"In one instance the minister had himself interfered in the sessions of a Pradeshiya Sabha," he said.
Further, he said that the police service is fast becoming politicised and promotions are bring given not on merit but on how well police officers serve government politicians.
Countering the opposition Rajitha Senaratna (Minister of Lands) pointed out that facts and statistics are in contrary to what is cited in the no-confidence motion.
"According to the report on crime in Sri Lanka the crime rate has decreased when compared with the previous year. The number of murders and abductions have seen a 10% and 15% decrease when compared from January to June in 2001 and 2002".
He rejected any form of political victimisation in work places. "Until last week the director board of the Kalutara bus company was the one appointed by the PA regime. We were not able to change it till last week. Where does this victimisation exist", he questioned.
Moving on to political violence he charged that former Minister Mangala Samaraweera had ordered his security to shoot at the supporters of Sagala Ratnayaka during the last general election campaign. "In Udathalawinna 10 youths and supporters of SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem were murdered in cold blood. This is violence and a breakdown in law and order."
"In Maturata officers of the PSD were arrested with a large haul of weapons including a grenade launcher and with vehicles bearing fake number plates." He said that the OIC of the Mathurata police was threatened with death and called a dog by PSD Chief Nihal Karunaratne.
Lashing out at the opposition he reminded how a UNP protest in Town Hall was attacked by the PSD. "The journalists who came to cover the event were attacked and their cameras smashed. The cellular phone of one of the photographers were later found with the former PSD officer and underworld figure Baddegane Sanjeewa."
Speaking on attacks on the media during the previous PA regime, he said that Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickremetunga and his wife were attacked in 1995. He said that those involved in the attack had gone back to Temple Trees after carrying out their task.
He said that people could not even play cricket during the PA regime. "Nihal Karunaratne told CID that the attack at the Board of Control for Cricket election was executed on the orders of the President. "Baddegane Sanjeewa was the highest security officer and the biggest criminal during the seven years of PA rule. ‘Satana’ editor Rohana Kumara was murdered. Was a single person arrested? It didn’t stop at that. Even the artistes were not spared. Rukantha and Chandralekha were abused and Anoja Weerasinghe’s house burnt."
He produced the application of Baddegane Sanjeewa to the post of police sergeant. "In this he has given the telephone number of his residence. When I saw this telephone number I found it familiar. This telephone number belongs to 62, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7. Then who has he mentioned as his guardian. It is Chandrika Kumaratunga".
This is how things happened during the last seven years. Prominent lawyer and my good friend Kumar Ponnambalam was murdered. The investigations are now pointing towards former Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte’s son for harbouring the assassinators.
He noted that the no-confidence motion against Minister John Amaratunga has boomeranged on the opposition. He called on the Minister to immediately bring all those responsible of criminal activities during the last seven years to book.
Focusing on the North-East conflict and the peace process R. Sampanthan (TULF Trincomalee) said that most of the issues listed in the no-faith motion have come into being due to the war that has prevailed in the country over the past two decades. "The political culture that has prevailed over the country during the last few years is responsible for the ruinous state of the country today."
He asked the PA to clearly spell out their stand on the peace process without conniving, colluding and collaborating with hard-line elements. "Present government received a mandate to find a just and honourable solution to the Tamil National question."
Sunil Handunnetti (JVP Colombo) called on the government to establish the four independent commissions without any delay. "They UNP pledged to depoliticise the police service after they came to office, but after coming to office they have created a separate ministry for the police force."
He charged that the police is used by the government to stifle opposition forces. "The police force has become a junta under Minister John Amaratunga".
Gamini Lokuge (Minister of Tourism) said that it was the UNP that launched the idea of having an independent police commission with the other three commissions. He said that the PA had objected an independent police commission when they were in office but are now talking about politicisation of the police service.
"This no-faith motion was present because Minister Amaratunga is investigating all the criminal activities of the past government. Minister John Amaratunga was appointed to carry out the investigations with a straight spine. The UNP will not stop a single investigation."
R. Yogarajan (CWC, National list) said that it is unfortunate that the opposition has brought this motion to waste the time of the house. "Those days, every month during the emergency debate we had to criticise the government even while being in the government, because our people were being harassed at checkpoints. That is not there any more. Today our people are free."
He said that actually a vote of confidence should be brought for the minister "He had done a better job than anyone in the past."
Appathuray Vinayagamoorthi (TNA — Jaffna) said: "It is true that crime rate has increased. But who is responsible for the increase in the crime rate? Some PA politicians who have an intimate connection with the underworld thugs are also responsible for the increase in the crime rate. Nearly 45,000 army personnel have deserted the army and when you investigate into every serious crime committed you find an army deserter at the bottom of it. Even on Sunday at Anuradhapura a family of nearly 6 or 7 members died as a result of an army deserter exploding a bomb. The Government and the former Defence Minister who are responsible for recruitment of personnel to the army should also be held responsible for the increase in the crime rate. The increase in the crime rate is mainly due to the army deserters.
What happened to our leader Kumar Ponnambalam? He was shot dead at Ramakrishna Road on 5-01-2000. According to the Lakbima paper of 8th March 2000 Mr. Ponnambalam had been killed by persons in the underworld with the knowledge of a powerful politician. It is said that notorious leading criminals in the underworld namely Army Ranjith and Moratuwa Saman alias Kulasinghe were suspects in this regard. It was also stated in that paper that Moratuwa Saman and army Ranjith were staying safely at a house in the Kandy area belonging to the son of a powerful politician. The son of the politician had come to know Moratuwa Saman through a police constable by the name of Ranasinghe. It is further said in the paper that the son of the politician with the knowledge of his father had given the contract of killing Ponnambalam to Moratuwa Saman through the police constable Ranasinghe. This information was available to Mr. Wickremasinghe who was the Director of CDB, who was in charge of the investigation and Mr. Wethasinghe who was in charge of the CDB at Colombo 7 and no sooner I was informed about what appeared in the Lakbima paper of 8th March 2000 I went to the office of the CDB and told Mr. Wethasinghe the OIC about what appeared in the paper. I also told him that Moratuwa Saman at that time was in the custody of Mt. Lavinia police station.
I don’t think any action was taken by the CDB. CID carried out the investigation into the killing of Kumar Ponnambalam. The investigation was handed over to Mr. Show Wickremesinghe by the President. I think this was probably done not to investigate but to cover up the activities of those suspects who were responsible for the assassination of late Mr. Ponnambalam. In this connection Show Wickremesinghe the Director CDB seems to have sent a communication in September 2001 to the President informing her the details of the investigations and the particulars of the suspects. I regret to note that so far no action has been taken against the assassins whose identities are known to the police.
Under these circumstances I should have brought a no confidence motion against the former Defence Minister who was in charge the police and the President for not having taken action. I also expect the sponsors of the so called no confidence motion to reply to matters I have referred in my speech."
-The Island -
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