Former CID chief Shani Abeysekera and Sub Inspector Sugath Mendis, who were remanded for nearly 10 months, were released on bail by the Court of Appeal today (16).
They were also ordered to make a cash bail of Rs. 25,000 and hand in their passports to the court.
Attorney-at-Law Viran Corea appeared for Abeysekera and Attorney-at-Law Chaminda Athukorala appeared for Mendis along with Attorney-at-Law Hafeel Faris when the petition filed regarding Abeysekera and Mendis was called before the Court of Appeal Judges Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and R. U.S. Gurusinghe. The petition was filed upon the instructions of Attorney-at-Law Gauri Thavarasa.
Arrest of Shani Abeysekara
On the morning of July 31st 2020, police officers from the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) raided the Narahenpita apartment of former Director of the CID l, SSP Abeysekara and arrested him. The police reasoned the arrest saying “evidence in the firearms case was fabricated,” which was in connection with the murder of a businessman in Bambalapitiya in 2013.
The CID under then Assistant Superintendent of Police Abeysekara investigated the murder and in June 2013 arrested several police officers including DIG Vass Gunawardena. In November 2015, the High Court convicted Vass Gunawardena, his son and four other police officers of murder and sentenced them to death.
During the investigation, Gunawardena had threatened Abeysekera and warned that he would be destroyed if the case was continued. In February 2018, the High Court convicted Gunawardena of making this threat and sentenced him to five years in prison.
On 21st November 2019, the National Police Commission decided to remove SSP Abeysekera from the post of Director of the CID and appoint him as the Personal Assistant to the Galle DIG. The decision taken by the Police Commission was signed by the Secretary of the Police Commission that evening and forwarded to the Police Headquarters the same afternoon.He was appointed as the Director of the CID by the Police Commission on September 7th 2017. Sudath Nagahamulla, who was the Director of the CID, was promoted to the post of DIG by the National Police Commission.
Investigations conducted by Abeysekera
SSP Abeysekera led investigations into several notorious cases including the Royal Park murder, the Angulana double murder, the Udathalawinna murder, the Mohammed Siyam murder, the 20 million robbery and the Town Hall bomb. Even a DIG has been sentenced to death as a result of his investigations.
The CID is currently investigating a number of sensitive investigations under his supervision, including the abduction of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, the murder of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, the attack on journalist Keith Noyar and former Rivira editor Upali Tennakoon, and the three deaths of unarmed civilians by shooting in Rathupaswala. Only the Rathupaswala incident has been indicted in the High Court.
Investigations into many sensitive cases including the murder of the rugby player, Wasim Tajuddin, which caused a great deal of controversy in the recent past, the bond deal scam and providing protection of the main killer of ‘Vidya’, were carried out under his supervision.
There was already a rumor within the police that his emergency transfer was carried out to disrupt those sensitive investigations.
He was later suspended and arrested on 31st July, five days before the last general election.