Jailers taking ‘Easy Cash’ for services rendered to prisoners transpires in evidence

by Vijayasiri Vidyasekera

 It has been revealed that prison inmates get their relatives to transfer money to the bank accounts of jailers so that they could enjoy extra facilities including access to telephones. This came to light at last week’s magisterial inquiry into the killing of underworld kingpin, Aruna Dhammika Udayanga alias Ranale Samayan and four other inmates and two jailers in a recent attack on a prison bus in Kalutara.

It was revealed at an inquiry in the Kalutara Magistrate court on Thursday evening before Chief Magistrate Bharathi Wijeratne that inmates used to call their homes frequently. "We are asked to transfer money to Easy Cash accounts of jailers. Then they provide facilities to our friends or relatives behind bars," Ajith Sasanka Mallikarachchi, brother of Kalana Thilak Mallikarachchi, one of the inmates killed in the daring attack said at the inquiry.

Ollu Pathirage Sunanthi Caldera (31), wife of Samayan alias Undugoda Pathiragae Aruna Dhammika Udayanga, giving evidence said: "I never visited my husband at the prison though he was there for three years for a murder case. He called home frequently. We have one child. He regretted the crimes he committed. I came to know that he had been shot dead. I came to the mortuary and identified his body."

An attack on a Kalutara prison transport on Feb. 27 claimed the life of Samayan and four other inmates namely Kalana Thilak Mallikarachchi, Wadduwa Pathirage Kelum Priyankara Perera, Suranga Prasanna and Kumara Amila Prasanna Sampath. The attack also claimed the life of two prison officials W Wijeratne and Shivananthan Dharmalingam. The attack took place while the prison transport was heading from the Kalutara Prison to the Kaduwela Court complex.

Ajith Sasanka Mallikarachchi, brother of Kalana Thilak Mallikarachchi, giving evidence said: "I have visited my brother at prison several times. He had been a motor mechanic before he was taken into custody over a shooting incident and assault. He used to call home from prison. He asked us to transfer money to the account numbers given by prison officers, who helped them.

D. L. Piyumi Lakmali, wife of Prasanna Sampath giving evidence said: "The deceased was my husband. We have two sons. He was taken into custody while I was abroad. He used to make international calls from the prison to me. I came to know about his death via the Internet and returned home.

Lasantha Sampath, brother in law of Prasanna Sampath said: "The deceased was my brother-in-law. He used to call me and ask me to transfer money to various accounts. I never visited him in prison."

Ishara Madhushani, wife of Wadduwa Pathirage Kelum Priyankara Perera said: "The deceased was my husband. We have a son and a daughter. He had been in prison in connection with a murder case. I visited him once in January this year. He used to speak to us every night via phone from prison. He spoke to the children more. He called us on Feb. 26 night, too. The following morning I was at the Kaduwela courts to see him. There I came to know that the prison bus he was travelling in had come under attack on the way.

There were no officials from the Kalutara prison to give evidence and the judge asked the police whether the prison authorities had been informed to be present in courts on that day. The police responded in the affirmative. The judge instructed the police to release the prison bus to the prison authorities as the Government Analyst had submitted his reports. On the request of police, the judge ordered telecommunications companies to provide details of several phone numbers for further investigations. An order had been issued for prison authorities to be present in courts on March 24.

There was a heavy police presence in and around the court complex in view of the inquiry.

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