Moratuwa, a suburb of Colombo is well known for
its prowess and artistry in woodcraft. Chaminda was a young man,
who hailed from a family of furniture dealers in Moratuwa and
spent his time in the family business, which was run by his
Chaminda had two uncles who were law-abiding
citizens, and who in addition to the timber trade were involved
in money lending on the side. From his childhood Chaminda loved
to be in the company of his two uncles and was very attached to
them. Cutting short his education, he involved himself at a very
early age in the business run by his family.
At 19 years he was a very popular youth in town
with a string of friends always around him. He was well known to
the villages as "Top Chaminda" a name he derived from his habit
of always sporting a hat.
In 1994 "Moratu Saman" was terrorizing the
Moratuwa area and all the businessmen in the town were forced to
pay "kappan" to this thug. The payments demanded
were in lakhs of rupees.
The two uncles of Chaminda were also approached
and requested to meet the demand of Moratu Saman, or to face the
consequences. They both refused to be intimidated and were
promptly bumped off as an example to other businessmen in the
Chaminda was devastated by the loss of his
uncles and yearned to take revenge from. But he knew did not
have the power to avenge their deaths.
The subsequent closure of the timber business
found Saman at a loose end and in need of employment as a means
of income. Musing to himself he deplored his lack of education,
which he felt if he had pursued, would have given him a chance
of netting a good job.
He decided that the most reasonable avenue open
to him, was to find employment in a foreign country and he got
the opportunity to go to Japan.
After a two-year stint abroad, he returned to
the country with substantial wealth and went about making new
friends among whom was one Nillu. Unfortunately, Nillu was
killed by an associate of Moratu Saman and this incident renewed
the hatred Chaminda had towards Moratu Saman.
Nillu’s brother in law, Upul was set on getting
his revenge on Moratuw Saman and this hatred cemented a close
friendship between Chaminda and Upul.
During this period a leading politician in the
area, engaged the services of Moratu Saman for various
activities. In return for the services rendered to the
politician, the police was asked to turn a blind eye on the
criminal activities of Moratu Saman. In no time Moratu Saman
became a very powerful and much feared man in Moratuwa
Chaminda and Upul went ahead with their plan of
revenge and in a small way purchased firearms and gathered
together a small band of friends who had similar grievances with
Unfortunatel for them Chaminda and Upul got
nabbed by the police with weapons and were produced in Courts
and remanded. While in prison they stuck up a friendship with
Nawala Nihal who was also serving a prison sentence. Nawala
Nihal was a well-known underworld character.
Moratu Saman is getting too big for his shoes,
we have to teach him a good lesson" said Nawala Nihal to his
newfound friend. "We will wipe out Moratu Saman, then you can be
the king of Moratuwa."
Nawala Nihal and Moratu Saman the two notorious
underworld characters, had at one time both been in prison
together and had clashed on a minor altercation. This incident
had irked Nawala Nihal who had a short fuse.
Thoppi Chaminda came out of prison a hardcore
criminal with a good knowledge of the underworld. He also was
happy in his knowledge that he had the backing of Nawala Nihal.
It could be said that Nawala Nihal who was
looked upon as the undisputed ‘king of the underworld’, was
reigning from inside the prison. He introduced a new friend to
Chaminda by the name of "eta Indika" who hailed also from
They drew up a plan to kill Moratu Saman in
Moratuwa and Nawala Nihal even though in prison at that time
provided the necessary weapons to Thoppi Chaminda. All went
according to schedule and Moratu Saman was killed in a lonely
area in Moratuwa, while travelling in a van.
With the demise of Moratu Saman, Thoppi Chaminda
and Eta Indika took over Moratu Saman’s place. Chaminda got into
the kappam trade and never failed to pay royalty to Nawala Nihal.
Chaminda now was embroiled in all sorts of crime and both Indika
and Chaminda were well known hired
killers, who killed even innocent people.
Though the police did their best to apprehend
these gangsters they were elusive as they derived their source
of information from the Police itself.
Chaminda and his gang during a period of two
years were responsible for the death of 17 persons, among them
was Ranasinghe who was killed in Ratmalana. A little child who
was walking on the pavement was a victim during the shootout. No
one dared make a police complaint against Chaminda.
Thoppi Chaminda had his bank account at the
Commercial Bank branch in Moratuwa and the kappam
money was deposited into this account by the businessmen.
According to the police, Chaminda was
responsible for the killing of a businessman in Kelaniya known
as Itali Jagath and the Western Province P.C. member Nimal
Gunawardena. The special Crime Investigation Unit of the Police
took over the investigation. The Special Unit
was in given in charge to H Samarasinghe.
Nawala Nihal was now using Chaminda and Indika
to wipe out all his enemies. Both of them carried out Nihal’s
orders without any hesitation.
Chaminda who had got married a couple of years
earlier lived in Wadduwa with his wife and daughter. He also had
a very close friend in Nallur, Jaffna whom he visited to evade
The hit list of Chaminda contained 20 names, of
whom 17 he had already wiped out. Lasantha was one of the three
persons left on the list and he was well aware that Chaminda was
gunning for him.
Lasantha had approached the Police seeking
protection against Chaminda and was looked after in exchange for
much needed information about Chaminda.
One day with six gangsters in the vehicle armed
with three T 56’s, Chaminda walked into a furniture shop at
Moratumulla and threatened the owner with a pistol.
"Do you know me" asked Chaminda. "I need Rs five
lakhs by tomorrow morning. These Police fellows are behind us,
so we need money. This is the account number, deposit the money
without and then inform the OIC of `D6`D6`D6 Police that u have
deposited the money."
This was Thoppi Chaminda’s last crime.
Chaminda and his gang were on their way to
Nawala, when Chief Inspector Samudrajeewa received a message
from an informant.
"Sir, Thoppiya and Bandu are in a van and have
stopped near the motor bicycle shop"
Samudrajeewa and his team did not waste time and
rushed over to apprehend Chaminda. They found Chaminda and Bandu
inspecting a brand new Bajaj motor bicycle. So intent were they
that they were unaware of the police presence until they were
grabbed by their necks.
Both Bandu and Chaminda were then shoved into
the Police van to be taken to the station and remanded. C.I.
Samudrajeeve who was following the van in his jeep suddenly
noticed that the van was zig zagging across the road and
eventually rammed into a post and stopped.
He rushed across and found the driver of the
Police van strangled in his seat while Bandu and Chaminda made a
frantic attempt to flee the vehicle. Both criminals were shot at
and succumbed to their injuries.
The townsfolk of Moratuwa on hearing of the
demise of Chaminda were jubilant and indulged themselves with
On checking with the Commercial Bank it was
revealed that Chaminda’s bank balance was in the region of 24