The Sunday Times looks back at major unsolved crimes of 2008


The year began literally with a deadly bang when UNP parliamentarian T. Maheswaran was shot in broad daylight on New Year’s Day while participating in religious rituals at the Sri Ponammbalapuvanes-waaar Kovil in Kotahena on New Year’s Day. The suspect was identified as Thomas Collin Valentine alias Wasanthan who is believed to have been a former EPDP cadre turned Ministerial Security Division (MSD) officer and also served as personal security officer (PSO) to both Douglas Devananda and Maheswaran himself. However the government blamed the LTTE over the killing, even before investigations were begun. The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) have not made any breakthrough.


Despite several people being questioned and statements recorded, the CID and the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) have not yet made any development in the investigation of the suicide bomber who blew herself up in the Fort railway station which killed 12 including students from D.S Senanayake College and injured over a 100, on February 3.


CID investigations into the assassination of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who fell prey to an LTTE suicide bomber on the morning of April 6 in Weliweriya is still pending. The minister was attending a marathon race event when the bomber blew himself killing the minister and 15 others.


Investigations into the abduction and seven hour torture of The Nation newspaper’s Associate Editor, Keith Noyahr have been dropped with police saying they cannot carry on the probe as the victim has left the country. It was alleged that his assault was linked to an article by Noyahr that was critical of a top military official. Mr. Noyahr was abducted on the night of May 23.


Police have not yet made a breakthrough into the assault on Sri Lanka Press Institute official, Namal Perera and his friend, Political Officer of the British High Commission, Mahendra Ratnaweera on the busy Kirulapone highway on the evening of June 30. The SLPI with the Newspaper Publishers Association offered a reward of Rs. 5 million for information regarding the assault.


No breakthrough has been made into the death of Kalmunai HQI, Chief Inspector C.W Wijeythilake. He had allegedly shot himself in the head using his own T-56 weapon before leaving for work in the morning of July 11. Preliminary police reports indicated that the 57-year-old Chief Inspector Wijeythilake had committed suicide after he received news of being suddenly transferred while involved in the probe into the killing of three businessmen from Mawathagama who were shot dead in Kalmunai town.

The HQI was reported to have included details about an LTTE attack on a VIP helicopter in Arugam Bay and the security situation in the East, in a book written by him.


Anuradhapura police are yet to take in any suspects over the attack on the house and political office of UNP district coordinator Dr. Rajah Johnpulle. It was reportedly set ablaze by supporters of a senior SLFP politician in the area.


Mirihane police investigating the Rs. 900 million scam by conman Sakvithi Ranasinghe who defrauded nearly 5000 investors has come to a standstill as sleuths are unable to locate his whereabouts. It is believed that he is hiding in India. Six suspects connected with the fraud have been arrested but there have been no new leads within the past two months.


Two months after the suicide bombing that killed Opposition Leader of the North-Central Provincial Council, Retired Major General Janaka Perera and 27 others, there is yet no progress into the CID investigation into the blast. Major General Perera was attending the opening of the new opposition leader’s office in Anuradhapura on October 4 when the suicide bomber struck. The only suspect who was taken into custody was released as there was no evidence to detain him. The UNP has alleged that the Government is dragging its feet over the investigation and that matters are being covered up deliberately.


There has been no breakthrough in the investigations into the killing of the TMVP official Kumaraswamy Nandagopan alias Ragu and his driver. They were shot inside their car in Athurugiriya. No suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing. Ragu was said to have also been a close advisor to the Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan. Chief Minister Chandrakanthan later stated that the killing was not the job of the LTTE as claimed by many and hinted that it might be the work of the rival faction led by parliamentarian Karuna alias Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan. Karuna denied the charge.

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