Police launch manhunt for fugitive doctor

By Leon Berenger

Detectives are hunting for a doctor who is alleged to have persuaded a minor employee to add poison to the water tank of Sevanagala Hospital’s District Medical Officer with the aim of killing him, a senior investigating officer said yesterday.

Chief Inspector Nilantha Bandara told the Sunday Times the police were seeking to record a statement from the suspect, following allegations that he had instructed a minor employee at the hospital, to poison the victim’s water supply at his official quarters.

The chief inspector said the minor employee, Nimal Ranjith, told police the fugitive doctor persuaded him to put some unidentified substance into the water tank at the official residence of DMO Dr. Chaminda Vitharana and he had been doing this since December last year.

CI Bandara said the police searched the suspect doctor’s official quarters but found no trace of poisonous substances. He said samples from the victim’s water tanks had been sent to the Medical Research Institute (MRI) for further examination and they were awaiting a report.

Dr. Vitharana, who has earned a good name from the people for treating poor patients free at his private clinic, is being treated at the National Hospital in Colombo. He told the Sunday Times that he and the doctors treating him were anxiously awaiting the MRI report so he, his pregnant wife and their two children could be treated accordingly.

Meanwhile, the Sevenagala Division Health Services Regional Director Dr. Palitha Adhikari has initiated an internal inquiry.

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