Thursday, 9 January 2003  
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Two brothers promoted as DIGs concurrently : Like father like son

by Sarath Malalasekera

For the second time in the history of the Police Force, two brothers have risen to the rank of Deputy Inspectors General of Police concurrently following in the footsteps of their father who himself was a DIG who busted several notorious crimes.

They are Commandant Special Task Force (STF) DIG Nimal Gunatilleke and newly appointed CID DIG Lionel Gunatilleke.

The first two DIG brothers were C.C. Dissanayake and S.A. Dissanayake. They held the rank of DIGs in 1956.

DIG Nimal Gunatilleke served in the North and East during the war period and as the head of the Crime Detective Bureau, Borella. He was also attached to the Crime Intellegence Bureau.

Nimal was the first Secretary Defence in Sri Lankan Embassy in London in 1992 to 1995.

Lionel had also served in the North and East. He had served in Vauvniya, Jaffna and VVT and later was appointed as the head of the CDB Heaquatrers Colombo.

He was also the Colombo Senior SP and the Director CID before he was promoted as the DIG from December 2002.

The present two DIG Gunatilleke brothers are sons of Lionel Gunatilleke senior who was known as "The Tiger of the Police Force".

Lionel Gunatilleke Senior was responsible for several important detections including the Bope murder case and the famous Turf Club robbery and murder.

In the Bope murder case the suspect was Pansal Appu. During the trial the Government Analyst found that the blood stains on the handkerchief and the cuff of Pansal Appu's shirt, was that of the deceased. Pansal Appu was sentenced to death and the jury added a rider commending the excellent work of Sub Inspector Lionel Gunatilleke. The Judge who heard the case of the Bope murder, Justice Akbar agreed with the rider of the jury and was pleased to note that the close attention which Lionel Gunatilleke senior had devoted to identify the actual murderer and bring home the charge against him was praiseworthy. It was a difficult case, but for the ability of the young sub inspector (Lionel Gunatilleke), might have easily ended in a mis-carriage of justice. Senior Lionel Gunatilleke was also responsible for collecting first hand information of the "Modus operandi" of the racketeers, who ruled the Indian waters in their high speed motor boats. Mr. Gunatilleke disguised as a villager named 'Gompa' travelled to the North to collect information. Then IGP Sir Richard Aluvihara consulted the then Prime Minister D.S.Senanayake and gave free hand to "Gompa" to go ahead with his plan. In a couple of weeks no less than eight hundred illegal immigrants were rounded up. The Ceylon Police Gazette notification on January 19, 1938 stated that His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to confer the honour - Medal for Gallantry of the order of the British Empire to Sub Inspector Lionel Gunatilleke for most commendable bravery and determination on two separate occasions in the arrests of two armed criminals. In both cases, Sub inspector Gunatilleke was injured but held on to is man although himself injured, until assistance arrival.

The two DIG Gunatilleke brotehrs told the 'Daily News' that when they joined the Police Force they were given only one piece of advice by their father - That was "Police work is team work". The father and two sons were old Anandians.

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