President raps Police Chief, CID takes over

Matara Tax chief assault case Probe

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has overruled his Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya and directed that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) continue with investigations into the assault on a senior official of the Department of Inland Revenue in Matara.

His order came within hours after the Sunday Times revealed exclusively last week that Dr. Balasuriya had ordered that the probe be handed over to the Matara Police.

President Rajapaksa has reprimanded him for issuing the directive without consulting the Attorney General. A source at the Presidential Secretariat said the President’s order was the result of revelations in the Sunday Times last week.

A group of persons assaulted Inland Revenue Deputy Commissioner H.M. Denzil on August 11. The incident had occurred when he was leaving after work one day.

Two unknown persons had boarded the same bus he was travelling. When he alighted to walk home, two more had joined in and assaulted him. Investigations, initially conducted by the Matara Police, were later handed over to the CID. Thereafter, the Police Chief assigned a hundred strong police team, the largest to probe an assault case. He also visited the Matara to personally supervise investigations.

CID detectives made a breakthrough after the arrest of a businessman in the area. Later, five more persons surrendered. Matara’s Chief Magistrate Udesh Ranatunga was to conduct an identification parade last Monday. However, Mr. Denzil, who was admitted to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital in Galle, did not attend. Hence, the parade has now been re-scheduled for tomorrow.

Assaulted officer vows to continue tax probes

By Bandula Sirimanna

The senior Matara tax officer, who is recovering from injuries sustained a month ago in a brutal assault by two unidentified persons, has vowed to continue his duties without fear or favour.

Deputy Tax Commissioner H.M. Denzil told the Sunday Times by telephone that he was now ready to resume his duties as he had recovered from his injuries, except for a few bruises on his face. He said he would meet Tax Chief K.M.S. Kandegedera soon and take a decision as to whether he would continue to work at the Matara Branch or any other section of Inland Revenue Department.

“It depends on Tax Chief and I have to obey his directions,” Mr. Denzil said, adding that he would fulfil his duties to the letter without fear or favour. He expressed optimism that he will be able to identify his attackers at tomorrow’s identification parade to be held by Matara’s Chief Magistrate.

Trade unions of the IRD had earlier expressed concern over Police Chief’s Mahinda Balasuriya’s move to refer the case to the Mediation Board of the area like most minor assault cases. The IGP’s order was overruled by the President and the CID is now handling the probe.

A gem merchant, H.A. Dharmadasa of Kamburupitiya, and four others have been taken into custody by the police in connection with the assault. The main suspect is said to be brother of a UPFA member of the Southern Provincial Council.

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