Focus/Spotlight

Breakthrough anticipated in Madush probe

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Investigators are expecting a key breakthrough in several cases related to underworld activities as well as drug circulation in the country as they continue to question Sri Lanka’s most-wanted drug lord, Samarasinghe Arachchige Madhush Lakshitha alias “Makandure Madush” who is in custody of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), sources told The Sunday Morning.

Madush was arrested by the CID at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) last Sunday (5) after he was deported from Dubai. Police Media Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera said Madush arrived at the BIA onboard UL 226.

The Police said steps have been taken to interrogate Madush under detention orders. The police revealed that the suspect is being detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

A well-informed source told The Sunday Morning that there were 15 cases linked to Madush under investigation.

Makandure Madush and 30 others, including several other organised criminals, were arrested at a party held at a luxury hotel in Dubai by the Dubai police on February 4 on charges of possession and use of drugs.

Among them were the notorious underworld criminals and drug traffickers “Kanjipani Imran” and “Keselwatte Dinuka”. The popular Sri Lankan singer Amal Perera, his son Nadeemal Perera, actor Ryan Van Rooyen, and several other celebrities were among them.

Makandure Madush fled the country after the murder of Danny Hiththatiya, a former chairman of the Southern Development Authority, in 2006. Information revealed that Madush was the main suspect of the murder and he first fled to India in a boat.

Subsequently, Madush is believed to have directed local underworld leaders “Samayan”, “Kos Malli”, and others from abroad to organise numerous criminal activities in Sri Lanka. He has also been connected to the shooting of Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) Inspector Neomal Rangajeewa.

Makandure Madush is also suspected of trafficking large consignments of illicit drugs to the country from abroad and maintaining links with the LTTE.

The Police and the security forces managed to expose such acts in the past few months. Earlier, Interpol had issued notices for the arrest of Makandure Madush who was believed to be hiding in Dubai and directing underworld activities in Sri Lanka.

According to police sources, it was reported that Madush’s arrest in Dubai in February was not a sudden incident but was a result of a long-term mission conducted by the Special Task Force (STF), together with sleuths from the CID.

He was not arrested for the offences in Sri Lanka, but for keeping the illicit dangerous drugs in his possession in Dubai. According to a tip off by another gang of Pakistani drug dealers, two police informants had left for Dubai, it was learnt. Subsequently, the arrest was made during a function held in a hotel in Dubai. However, it was reported that it was the police informants that had informed the Dubai police that Madush and the group were having illicit drugs in their possession.

Questioning underway

The groups of 30, together with Makandure Madush, were detained in Dubai and were deported to Sri Lanka in batches. They were all arrested by the CID when they arrived at the BIA.

Some of the suspects were released after questioning while others were further detained by the CID or directed to relevant authorities. However, there were issues with the deportation of the suspects as local law enforcement authorities said the Dubai authorities had not informed the local authorities, at least through Interpol, that the suspects were deported to Sri Lanka. It was the CID which had identified the suspects through the flight manifest.

However, after 13 out of the 31 suspects were deported to Sri Lanka, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana left for Dubai to discuss the deportation issues.

Meanwhile, Madush has filed a petition in a court in Dubai asking the Dubai Government not to deport him. However, the request made by him had been rejected by the Dubai Courts and he was deported to Sri Lanka.

In the meantime, the fundamental rights petition filed by a relative of Madush to prevent his arrest when he arrived in the country has also been rejected by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) Director T.C.A. Dhanapala said that Madush was still being interrogated by the CID, and the PNB had requested the CID to hand over Madush to them for further questioning regarding the drug related cases. “We haven’t seen Madush yet and we hope the CID would hand him to us this week,” he said.

Another notorious drug kingpin – Mohommad Najim Mohammad Imran alias “Kanjpani Imran” – among the 31 arrested in Dubai was detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) as he was wanted for several murders and had connections to several explosions in Colombo.

Kanjipani Imran is alleged to be engaged in drug smuggling, ransacking, and murders from Dubai. He is also wanted for handling and operating over 12 shootings and attempted murder incidents in Borella, Maligawatta, Kotahena, Jampettah Street, Grandpass, Modara, and Jinthupitiya in which at least four people were killed and several others were injured.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD), which is currently interrogating the organised criminal gang leader Kanjipani Imran, said their interrogations were only focused on the 15 murders and attempted murders that were alleged to be done by the suspect.

CCD revealed that Imran was directly involved in several shootings which were not successful, but left the victim wounded.