Two sides to the police promotion story
By Frances Bulathsinghala
Police Commission Chairman and the Police Chief last week refused to accept blame for the controversy surrounding police promotions resulting in a Court order nullifying 280 top rank promotions.

National Police Commission (NPC) Chairman Ranjith Abeysuriya in a statement said he was saddened and disillusioned and the Inspector General of Police said he was bewildered and astonished but what emerged between these two sentiments was a series of accusations and denials.

The responsibility for a criminal, drug addicts and police officers sojourning overseas being listed for promotion as Chief Inspectors was not acknowledged by either of the two.

"No. No. The one who was a criminal was not to be promoted. He was merely on the reserve list", insists Ranjith Abeysuriya whose desk is cluttered with heaps of files he keeps referring to before answering questions on some of the police lapses.

Referring to the case of Ajith Devapriya Samarakoon -- who had been served a death sentence in 1997 for the rape and murder of a woman -- whose name was on the resrve list for promotions from the rank of Inspector of Police to Chief Inspector, Mr. Abeysuriya insisted that the commission was not informed that the man was in jail with a life sentence.

"According to the police records dated 1993 submitted to the police commission, Ajith Devapriya Samarakoon had been sent on compulsory leave", he said.

"Yes, I was the lawyer who handled his appeal but that was in 1999. I cannot be expected to recall his name from a list of nearly five hundred names", protested the NPC Chairman when asked if he was not aware of the record of the police officer in question as he was Mr. Samarakoon's attorney in his 1999 appeal case. The came up for review while Mr. Samarakoon was in prison serving his life sentence.

"The Commission cannot be expected to know if police officers as individuals have vices such as womanising and drug addiction", he claims. However, although the Police Commissioner and the IGP continued to point fingers at each other they stop short of directly accusing each other.

"All the names were provided to the Police Commission by none other than the IGP himself. How can he blame the Police Commission for not doubting the police records", the NPC Chairman said, before quickly saying he does not really blame the police.

Similar sentiments were expressed by the IGP when he said he was utterly stupefied by the fact that the Police Commission was not aware of the dismal history of the officers in question when these details were provided to the Commission on two earlier occasions but went on to say that the Police Commission Chairman is a good, honest and hardworking man and that the IGP does not blame the Chairman nor the Commission.

IGP Indra de Silva said he was not aware the Police Commission was gearing up to handle promotions from the ranks of IP to CI. He denied that the Police Commission had specifically informed him that approvals were to be granted for promotions from the ranks of Inspector of Police to that of Chief Inspector.

"I was informed by the Police Commission that it was planning to implement a court order, stating that a cadre of 450 were to be promoted to the ranks of ASP, SP, and SSP.

I provided the requested information", the IGP said, adding that the Commission had complicated the whole matter by trying to handle all the promotions at once.

"I admit the police records regards seniority and discipline were not updated for as long as ten years", he said when referring to the outdated details furnished by the Police to the NPC. The IGP said the reason for this was the police being pre-occupied with security during the ethnic conflict where it was acting very much like a military force and carrying out paramilitary duties.

Top  Back to News  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.