Easter Sunday probe in tatters: Director CID transferred following internal inquiry into Riyaj release
Posted on October 19th, 2020

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

AG wants report within one month

Close on the heels of Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, alleging serious lapses on the part of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), in respect of the probe on Riyaj Bathiudeen’s alleged involvement with those responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks, the premier investigating agency’s Director SSP Prasanna de Alwis has been moved out.

The transfer took place consequent to an unprecedented meeting the AG had with the new Director CID Prasad Ranasinghe and three other officers, including SSP Alwis. The AG found fault with the CID over the way the police had released Riyaj arrested last April on the basis of irrefutable evidence of direct links with at least one Easter Sunday suicide bomber.

The National Police Commission (NPC) has cleared the CID Director’s transfer as Director, Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) whereas SSP G.N. de Zoysa received the CID Director’s post. Zoysa had been the Director of the recently formed unit responsible for inquiring into ill-gotten wealth. At the time, SSP de Alwis received appointment as Director, CID a couple of months ago, he was Director CID.

Within days after the media reported Riyaj Bathiudeen’s release, Police headquarters moved the then DIG CID Nuwan Wedasinghe out of the unit. He received an appointment as Acting DIG Western Province (North). Wedasinghe received posting as DIG, CID in late Dec last year following the change of government.

Following instructions received from the AG, who asked for a comprehensive report within a month, the police were now in the process of inquiring into the conduct of the CID.

Acting IGP C.D. Wickremaratne last week set up two special teams to probe the circumstances leading to Riyaj Bathiudeen’s release and serious lapses on the part of the CID.

Since the change of government in Nov 2019, the SSPs had held the post of Director CID. Of them, the first to hold the post was SSP W. Tilakaratne followed by de Alwis and now de Zoysa.

SSP Shani Abeysekera, who had been the director CID at the time of the change of government, is in remand custody. The police arrested him in July this year over charges of framing DIG Vass Gunawardena now on death row.

The CID is the second special unit to come under investigation this year. Earlier, the DIG, Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) Sajeewa Medawatta and its Director SSP Manjula Senarath were transferred out after investigations launched at the behest of the AG exposed a section of the PNB dealing in heroin.

Well informed sources said that proper inquiry was needed to clean up the department. Sources explained that law enforcement apparatus was under scrutiny both by the AG and the Defence Secretary in the wake continuing accusations regarding impropriety. Sources also alleged that shortly before Riyaj’s release, his brother Samagi Jana Balavegaya lawmaker Rishad Bathiudeen met some senior CID officers.

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