CCD Chief defends police over delay to arrest Malaka

By Madura Ranwala

 Malaka Silva, Rehan Wijeratne and five others, wanted by police for allegedly assaulting two army officers at Hilton Residence, Colombo, on September 2, surrendered to the police yesterday around 8.00 a.m., Senior Deputy Inspector General, Anura Senanayake told the media at his office in Colombo yesterday.

He said that the suspects were produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate and were remanded till September 24.

When asked why the investigations were delayed and the suspects were not arrested earlier, he said, "Investigations should be held according to my instructions and no one can claim that the investigations were delayed as we have produced the suspects today to the Court after the investigation."

He said, "We happened to record about 50 statements from various persons who were there at that time and none of the statements clearly said that the suspects assaulted the victims, but that there was a brawl between two parties. So, we received an order from the Court to obtain video recordings of the CCTV cameras from the Hilton Residence."

When repeatedly asked why the police did not arrest Malaka Silva immediately after the incident, he said, "Police cannot arrest a person of the caliber of Malaka Silva as we arrest a criminal or notorious suspect or murderer. But, I condemn the manner an officer was assaulted and we are waiting for medical reports."

According to the victims’ statements, he said, they had clearly stated that Malaka Silva and Rehan Wijeratne had assaulted them and relieved the officer of his service pistol. Therefore, the other suspects would be produced for an identification parade on October 1.

The senior DIG emphasized that the police would inform the Court as to why the major had been there at that time. According to some information gathered by the police so far, he said that the Major had been with a casino businessman since the previous day from 6.00 p.m. to the following day 3.00 a.m. on the 27th floor of the Hilton Residence.

Though the primary investigation confirmed that the army officer was on duty at that time, he said that the police would investigate thoroughly whether he was on duty or providing security to another person as a private body guard. He said that the incident occurred following an argument over a cigarette.

However, action would be taken against the suspects as the case was handed over to the Court but people should never accept media claims that the investigation was delayed, the senior DIG said.

When The Island asked Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya whether the officer who sustained injuries was still at the army hospital at Narahenpita, he answered in the affirmative.

He said that a Court of inquiry of the army too was on to find out what exactly had happened but not to find the army officer wrong. Hee said that according to preliminary investigations, the officer had been on duty. He did not want to comment further regarding the incident as the Court of inquiry of the army was on.

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