Kahawatte double murder: Charges of drug deals and cover-ups lead to suspects’ trail

By Damith Wickremasekara and Our correspondent Lasantha Niroshana

The discovery of a possible narcotics racket is believed to have led to the Kahawatte double murder, where a mother and her 18 old daughter were brutally killed seven weeks ago.

The chief suspect, his wife and the three-wheeler driver

Police probing the case on Friday produced three of the key suspects – a couple and a threewheeler driver before the Pelmadulla Magsitrate, Chandani Niranjala Dias and were remanded until tomorrow.
The key suspect Lokugamhewage Dharshana alias Raju, the brother of a local politician L.M.

Dharmasiri who was the co-ordinating secretary to Minister W.D.J.Seneviratne was taken into custody on more than five occasions a few weeks back, but was released by the Police on grounds of lack of evidence.

But, villagers say that the suspect was released due to political pressure, a claim strongly denied by Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana. Minister Seneviratne also said that there was no political pressure on the investigations. The Co-ordinating Secretary was removed from his post early this week.

However, the Sunday Times learns that the local politician had allegedly brought pressure on the police delaying investigations.

Because of the pressure investigations were taken over by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) that interviewed a nine year old daughter of a couple who were neighbuors of the mother and daughter duo who were killed.

Subsequent inquiries revealed that Kavindya Chathurangi Sellahewa (19) and her mother Nayana Nilmini (52) were killed as a couple in their neighbourhood suspected them of finding out about their involvement in a narcotics racket.

The chief suspect had reportedly sought Kavindya’s help to drop off a parcel daily to an ‘uncle’ in Ratnapura town on her way to school. The girl was a student at Ferguson Girl’s school in Ratnapura following Advanced Levels classes in the maths stream.

One day she had come home directly without delivering the parcel as she was not feeling too well.

The mother had suggested that they open the parcel and had found drugs in packets hidden with a lunch parcel. Both, the mother and daughter had confronted the couple resulting in animosity between them, investigations have revealed.

However a few weeks later on January 20, a jail guard , the son of the local politician and nephew of the chief suspect later implicated in the killing was arrested in connection with a separate incident. On searching his premises police had found drugs hidden in a drawyer.

Investigators believe that the couple had strongly suspected that the mother and daughter had alerted the authorities that led to the arrest of the jail guard.

On January 31 the couple had reportedly turned up at the neighbours house and told the mother and daughter that there was no reason for ill feelings and that they should be friends again. However, as the mother opened the door the key suspect Raju had attacked the mother on the head with a knife.

The daughter was also attacked and killed. Investigations had revealed that her body was wrapped in a bed sheet and taken away in a three-wheeler driven by the third suspect Nandana Jayasekara. The body had been dumped about three kilo metres away in a rubber estate and was found two days later.

The earrings of the girl had been removed to give the impression it was a robbery. The clothes worn by the mother and daughter had been hidden in bushes close to a stream as they could not set them on fire, investigations revealed.

On Friday the chief suspect’s wife Udya Kumari made a confession in the chamber of the Magistrate. The chief suspect and the three-wheeler driver were produced later in Courts under tight security. Villagers who were present booed when the suspects were being produced.

Inspector Rohana of the CID submitting a report to Courts said that the suspects had been questioned for 48 hours and the weapon used in the killing, the clothes of the victims and the earrings that had been removed from the daughter, were recovered by police investigators. The three-wheeler used to transport the body too had been found he said.

The Ratnapura JMO was ordered to produce the chief suspect and the three-wheeler driver before a psychiatric for an assessment of their mental status.

Additional reporting by Manopriya Gunasekara

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