wants probe report on Danny Hittetiyage killing
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the police
to submit a report on the investigation into the killing of Southern
Development Board Chairman Danny Hittetiyage at Makandura junction
in Matara last Sunday by two unidentified gunmen.
The police investigation has revealed that Mr.
Hittetiyage had faced several political threats in the past as he
had been a former minister in the Southern Province as well as a
close confidant of President Rajapaksa.Initial investigations have
revealed that the assassination was carried out due to a long standing
dispute between him and a local underworld kingpin over a 100 acre
block of land. The land located in Kamburupitiya, Matara was said
to have been abandoned for several years resulting in around seventy
families in the area encroaching on the land and putting up huts.
When the owners of the land who are presently
residing abroad came to know of this they had contacted Mr. Hittetiyage
and said they wished to donate the land for any project of the Southern
One family which had encroached on the land was
that of underworld kingpin Madushantha who was in prison for possessing
illegal firearms and charged with the killing of Mr. Hittetiyage’s
brother-in-law who was also gunned down due to a land dispute
Madushantha was arrested last year with five others
by the Peliyagoda police after he had committed the robbery of a
private company in Colombo.
Police sources said they believed Madushantha
was under the impression that Mr. Hittetiyage was trying to get
revenge over his brother-in-law’s killing by trying to acquire
the 100 acre land and thereby eject his family. In prison he had
reportedly plotted the killing with his brother and a few underworld
Police said that the day before the assassination
was due to take place Madushantha’s brother and a few other
gang members had spent the night in Madushantha’s house in
Kamburupitiya and planned on following Mr. Hittetiyage. After the
assassination Madushantha and the gang had gone into hiding.
However the police located the whereabouts of
the gang. So far two men who allegedly planned the killing - Madushantha’s
brother and his associate have been arrested. The police are at
present looking for the killers who have been identified as being
in the early twenties. Matara DIG Jayantha Gamage told The Sunday
Times that he has appointed three special teams to work on the case.
“The gunmen who are in their early twenties
are said to be wanted for several other organised crimes. We have
found out that they are also contract killers. Once we finish the
investigation we will be reporting to President Rajapaksa,”