Focus/Spotlight

Lawyers return empty handed

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that there were a total of 31 Sri Lankans, including several organised criminals among the group arrested by the Dubai Police, at a party held at a super luxury hotel in Dubai Marina area. It was reported that there are several other notorious underworld criminals and drug traffickers such as “Kanjipani Imran” and “Keselwatte Dinuka” among the arrested individuals.

Popular local singer Amal Perera, his son Nadimal Perera, actor Ryan Van Rooyen, and several other reality stars were also said to be among those arrested. However, the connection between the drug kingpin and the artists is yet to be probed and affirmed.

A well-informed source at the Ministry of Defence told The Sunday Morning that the Government was not willing to send the Sri Lankan Consul to represent the group, including Madush Lakshitha, alias “Makandure Madush”, in the courts of Dubai.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, Counsel Shabdika Wellappuli, who appeared on behalf of the two popular Sri Lankan artists Amal Perera and his son Nedimal Perera who are in Dubai custody, said that as he was informed by the authorities in Dubai, the group including the two singers had been further remanded for another month on Thursday (28).

He said that he was unaware of the real situation of his clients and that the rest of the Sri Lankans who were arrested by the Dubai Police. As he was informed, the blood test had already been conducted, but the reports were yet to be made use of by the authorities.

Also, the reports of the urine samples of the suspects were pending, according to Counsel Wellappuli. He said he never got a chance to meet Makandure Madush or to talk about him with the officials.

Madush Lakshitha 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 was said to be directed by 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 Rangajeeva.

Makandure Madush was also suspected of trafficking large consignments of illicit drugs to the country from abroad and also said to have had links with the LTTE.

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

Special investigation ongoing

Meanwhile, since the arrest of Madush in Dubai, Sri Lanka’s law enforcement authorities launched a countrywide operation to gather information on the assets of the suspects who were arrested in Dubai. As a result, the Police raided singer Amal Perera’s and actor Ryan Van Rooyen’s houses separately.

During the raids conducted by the Special Task Force (STF) and PNB, several drug dealers were taken into custody, together with narcotics such as heroine worth billions of rupees.

Last week, the Colombo Magistrate Court has directed the Police to seek Interpol assistance in arresting the main five suspects in connection with the largest heroin haul valued at more than Rs. 3,533 million, which was seized last Sunday (24). Heroin weighing at 294.4 kg was seized at a car park in Kollupitiya. The two suspects arrested during the operation were further remanded till 15 March.

State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene told The Sunday Morning that the Government has no plans to bring him back to Sri Lanka; instead, it would let the Dubai law enforcement authorities take appropriate legal action against Madush.

However, earlier the Government said that the diplomatic talks were underway to bring him back to the country.

Even though several media institutions reported that a team of Sri Lanka Police would leave for Dubai to get statements from the suspects in the custody of the Dubai Police, the Police sources confirmed The Sunday Morning that the Police had not taken such decision to send a special team, as Sri Lanka couldn’t be involved with the legal process.