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Udathalawinna massacre case : Defender jeeps found in Eden estate bungalow - SI

by Sandasen Marasinghe

When hearings of the Udatalawinna massacre case resumed on June 9, before the Trial-at-Bar, Defence Counsel Tirantha Walaliyadda PC suggested during cross-examination that the hijacking of the two defender jeeps at Mawanella and the reason for not having eye witnesses to transporting them to the Eden Estate were because of the intervention of the former UNP MP Tissa Attanayake and Sub Inspector Pushpa Kumara Herath who found the vehicles at the Eden Estate, the witness said that he did not know about it.

The Trial-at-Bar comprises High Court Judges Eric Basnayake (President), Deepali Wijesundara and Sunil Rajapakse.

Examined by the Deputy Solicitor General Palitha Fernando, Sub Inspector Ananda Udaya Pushpa Kumara Herath of the Kandy Police said that he went near the Eden Estate after he was informed of the two jeeps without number plates which had entered the Teldeniya Police Area.

The gate at the entrance to the estate was closed and when he called for somebody to open the gate, a gate keeper came and opened the gate.

SI Herath further said although the gate keeper said that vehicles had not come in that direction, there were tyre marks on the muddy road.

He entered the estate and drove along the road which led to a bungalow.

The bungalow gate was also closed and later another gatekeeper opened that gate. Later he said that he found two green coloured defender jeeps one behind the other halted inside a garage and he found another white lorry behind them.

Both vehicles bore damage marks as they had knocked against something hard. He examined them and the front vehicle had tinted glasses. The windscreen was cracked and inside the vehicle was a number plate (WP GG 9364) that seemed to have been removed from the vehicle. The windscreen of the jeep which was behind, was broken. Inside that jeep there were photocopies of insurance documents of vehicle, 65-3664.

"I did not check the vehicles properly as I was afraid of a threat to my life and of the three others with me if there were people who brought the vehicles to the bungalow " SI Herath said.

Witness stated that when he informed the matter to the Rangala Police OIC IP Jayaratne came there with few other police constables and took the vehicles to the Rangala Police and produced them before Court.

Cross-examined by the Defence Counsel Tirantha Walaliyadda PC, SI Herath stated that he did not meet any eye witness who had seen the vehicles being brought there.

Defence Counsel Tirantha Walaliyadda PC:-"Didn't you come to know that the three persons who brought the vehicles consumed tea inside the bungalow?"

Witness:- "Yes somebody told me so and I learnt that they later left the place in a double cab. But I cannot recall who said it."

SI Herath further said that he did not inform the matter to the Teldeniya Police but informed the Rangala Police and a group from the Teldeniya Police led by Chief Inspector Lenawa arrived there within 30 minutes.

He did not tell anything to CI Lenawa. He did so only to IP Jayaratne who was his senior.

At this stage Defence Counsel Tirantha Walaliyadda (PC) suggested that SI Herath was giving false evidence and witness denied the suggestion. Witness said that he obtained statements from the gate keepers and assistant superintendent of the Eden Estate on December 8, 2001.

Defence Counsel Tirantha Walaliyedda(PC):-"Were those two defender jeeps handed over to the Teldeniya Police?"

Witness:- "Yes, on December 7, 2001".

Defence Counsel:- "Do you know at least now that these two jeeps were the vehicles which were hijacked by a gang at Mawanella on December 6, 2001 ?"

Witness:- "I heard such a rumour."

Defence Counsel:- "Do you know that there is a case against that abduction at the Mawanella Court and the first accused is Sarath Bandara, a bodyguard of former UNP MP Tissa Attanayake ?"

Witness:- "I don't know."

When Defence Counsel Walaliyadda suggested that the reason for the investigation to be halted into the vehicle hijack incident at Mawanella and the reason for not having eye witnesses to the transporting of the vehicles were because of the intervention of Tissa Attanayake, SI Herath said that he was not aware of it.

Deputy Solicitor General Palitha Fernando, Senior State Counsel Achala Wengappuli, Senior State Counsel Mohan Senaviratne and Senior State Counsel Shanil Kularatne appeared for Attorney General and Tirantha Walaliyadda (PC), Anil Silva appeared for the Defence.

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