Retired Piliyandala doctor nabbed in church grenade case

  • Total of five suspects in custody over incident
  • Sajith visits All Saints’ Church

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Colombo South Police Division’s Crime Investigation Unit has arrested another suspect in connection with the incident where a hand grenade was discovered at the All Saints’ Church in Borella on 11 January 2022.

Police sources told The Morning that the suspect was a retired doctor residing in the Piliyandala area. The suspect was arrested on the night of 18 January 2022 in the Piliyandala area on the basis of information obtained during the interrogation of a suspect arrested in the Panamure area in Embilipitiya over the same incident.

The Police have also found a cache of firearms and weapons during a search of the suspect’s residence at Wata Mawatha in the Piliyandala area. According to the Police, the said items included four pistols, a revolver, an unidentified firearm, two swords, and a knife.

Following the discovery of the hand grenade in the church, four suspects in total were earlier taken into custody over the incident. The number of suspects arrested over the incident is now five, with the arrest of the suspect on 18 January.

Meanwhile, Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa along with SJB MP Dr. Kavinda Heshan Jayawardhana visited the All Saints’ Church in Borella yesterday. Speaking to the media at the time, Premadasa said that if the Colombo Archbishop His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith felt that the investigations into the said incident were not being carried out properly, it is a serious problem.

“In a situation like this, the security forces, including the Police, should act in a way that protects the trust of the Archbishop, the Catholics, and the public, but if there are any shortcomings in those investigations, it is a serious problem,” he said.

A hand grenade was found in the premises of the All Saints’ Church on Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha opposite the Welikada Prison in Borella at around 4.40 p.m. on 11 January 2022. The hand grenade was discovered following a tip-off received by the Police and it was later defused by the Police Special Task Force.

Meanwhile, Colombo Additional Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya remanded a suspect who was arrested in connection with a hand grenade being found in the premises of the All Saints’ Church in Borella. The suspect Indika Perera, a resident of Dematagoda, was remanded by the court until 25 January 2022. He has been identified as the fourth suspect in the incident.

The Colombo Crimes Division also informed the court that three other suspects arrested in connection with the incident are being detained and questioned under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act.

However, Archbishop Ranjith on 13 January accused the Police of not conducting a “truthful” investigation regarding the discovery of a hand grenade at the All Saints’ Church in Borella and said that Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne should “go home” if he cannot ensure that a transparent investigation is conducted into the matter. “Instead of searching for the truth, they are creating a story. We reject the Police’s statements and request a transparent investigation. They are trying to trap innocent people. The IGP gives big statements to the newspapers and makes accusations. Officials should be honest, and not play for politicians. Remove your uniform and go home if you cannot speak the truth,” said the Archbishop at a press conference.

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd.) Sarath Weerasekera and Defence Secretary Gen. (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne, however, defended the police probe conducted thus far.