Killing of Chandi Malli: Where were the guards?
By Chris Kamalendran
The killing of southern provincial council minister M.K.Ranjith just outside the Police headquarters and few metres from a high security zone has left a trail of questions about security.

Police Chief T.E. Anandaraja said the gunmen had apparently been able to get away partly due to the negligence of the police guards. Six men are alleged to have moved in from a side entrance near the CID office and three of them had fired at the provincial minister who is also known as 'Chandi Malli' when he came there to report to the CID on a court order relating to a case in which he is a suspect.

By way of an explanation, the Police Chief said two buses passed the scene at that fateful moment and that may have been one of the reasons why the guards did not hear the sound of gunfire. However, if they had acted faster and more effectively, the killers could have been nabbed, he admitted. Road blocks were placed later, but it was too late.

The daylight killing took place about 75 metres from where the Presidential security guards were deployed along Jandhipathi Mawatha (Sir Baron Jayatillake Mw). They were guarding one of the main entry points to the high security zone which encompasses the President's House. The Sunday Times learns that usually two armed policemen are deployed at the side entrance from where Mr. Ranjith walked out, but on that particular day no officer had been stationed at the location.

Soon after the shooting, the six men had escaped in a car and a three-wheeler.
In a twist of the cohabitation crisis, Interior Minister John Amaratunga said he believed the Presidential security guards could have moved into catch the killers. "It is not only the duty of the police, but the duty of the PSD as well as they are responsible for the security in the area," he said.

However, other police sources said the shooting took place in an area which did not come within the high security zone. Mr. Amaratunga, who is the main target of increasing criticism over the explosive crime wave, said investigators had identified the killers and he was confident they would be tracked down soon. Mr. Ranjith was known to be a close associate of opposition leader Mahinda Rajapakse. He was known to have political enemies both within the party and in other parties and had reportedly received several death threats.

Mr. Ranjith had been arrested by the CID for the alleged possession of T-56 rifles, pistols, and shotguns. He was remanded for one month and then given bail with directions to report to CID headquarters on the last Sunday of every month. But Sunday, May 25 turned out to be the last Sunday of his life. On that fateful weekend, he had left his Beliatta residence on Saturday to attend the funeral of a friend in Moratuwa. On Sunday morning, he had visited the Opposition leader before going to CID headquarters for his date with death.

Colombo Crimes Division Chief D.S. Lugoda said police teams were in the areas where the suspected killers were thought to be hiding.

Students seek answers to question paper leak

With the GCE Advanced Level Examination ending today, thousands of students who sat for the Sinhala papers are uncertain as to the validity of the test which was marred by the leak of five questions.

Exams Commissioner Mahinda Wijesiri said a decision would be taken after the CID completed its probe. The candidates who sat for the Sinhala paper are uncertain whether they would have to re-do the examination and whether any decision to rescind the test would affect their university admission prospects.

The alleged leaking of the Sinhala paper is reported to have taken place when a well-known tuition master in Kurunegala had reportedly released several questions to the students attending his classes. (NK)

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