Sept 04, Colombo: Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremasinghe has questioned in parliament about the police investigation into the break in at the residence of The Sunday Leader, Associate Editor, Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema.
Making a special statement in parliament Tuesday, Wickremasinghe while questioning the credibility of the police investigation into the incident has also asked the government to reveal what those who had forcibly entered into the journalist's residence had searched for since they had spent a fair amount of time at her residence.
The Opposition Leader has also questioned about the telephone numbers and the persons the assailants had contacted over the mobile phones while engaging in the alleged burglary.
Wickremasinghe has said the forced entry and the "robbery" that had taken place at journalist Abeywickrema's house, was an 'act to prevent' her from exposing the 'controversial Krrish deal' rather than an 'attempt taken to steal her jewellery.'
"A gang who entered the residence of Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema, the Co-editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper during the early hours of 24 August 2013, had attacked and threatened her, and had searched for something in her house for nearly three hours. It was reported that during that period, one of them had carried out a search while being in contact with somebody else via his mobile phone. One of the men who had entered the house had also said that it was a contract. Later, the police had entered the premises after her husband had informed them of a break-in, and in the ensuing clash, one of the intruders had been killed while four others had been taken into custody," the Opposition Leader narrated.
A question was also posed as to why the police, who, within two hours had declared that it was a burglary, had yet failed to even conduct an identification parade of the suspects.
Responding to the statement, Chief Government Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has said the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) of the Police Department has detained those arrested in connection with the intrusion into Abeywickrema's house and they will be detained for 90 days to enable the police to conduct investigations under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
"In response to a telephone call received around 4:45 a.m. on the Emergency Hotline 119, the Mobile Unit of the Bambalapitiya Police had visited the said house. When the robbers were confronted by the police, the ensuing altercation had led to the police officers sustaining injuries inflicted with sharp weapons. The police firing in self-defense, had led to one robber being shot dead, and they had managed to arrest four others. These robbers have been in the house from 2:30 a.m. till 4:45 a.m.," Minister Gunawardena informed parliament.
He further identified the deceased as Kadinappulige Indika Sampath Kumarasiri and the injured as Kadinappulige Rohitha Lakshman alias Pol Ravi, Pradeep Chamara Kumara, Vithanarachchilage Shantha Kumara and Asanga Ubesiri.
"The injured police officers are Sergeant Jayapala, Constable Somadasa and Constable Gamage. The robbers had taken Rs 36,000 in cash and US$ 12. Investigations are being conducted about the telephone call they had made. Most of these robbers have warrants issued for their arrest for various offences they had committed, and some of them are deserters," Gunawardena said.