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Neglecting arrest of Anuruddha Sampayo:

Police deny allegations

The Sri Lanka Police has denied that it was willfully neglecting to arrest interdicted Negombo Prison Superintendent Anuruddha Sampayo.

This was in response to the allegations levelled against it by the Attorney General’s Department. A Senior Police officer told the Sunday Observer that Police teams are searching for the suspect.

Two teams from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) have been deployed to track down Sampayo, he said.

The Police on Thursday also grilled two siblings of Sampayo to elicit information on his whereabouts. The CID had recorded statements from his brother and sister after summoning them to the CID.

But holding a press conference for the first time since its 136-year- long history, the Attorney General’s Department on Friday (8) gave the Police a dressing down over its failure to arrest Sampayo after a warrant was issued for his arrest. During the press briefing Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris said that the Police have failed to arrest Sampayo even after 12 days since the warrant was issued by the Negombo Magistrate’s Court.

Peiris said that the present system encourages criminals and wanted suspects such as Sampayo who show blatant disregard for the judicial system. Peiris said it is of paramount importance for the Acting Inspector General of Police to appear in court and explain as to why the Sri Lanka Police had failed to enforce the warrants and why it cannot arrest Prison Superintendent Sampayo.

Attorney General Dappula de Livera on July 22 had instructed the CID Director to obtain a warrant and arrest the suspect officers. The Negombo Magistrate’s Court issued warrants for the arrest of the suspects at the request of the CID the same day.

The warrants were issued on interdicted Superintendent of Negombo Prison Anuruddha Sampayo, its Chief Jailors Upali Sarath Bandara and Nishantha Senaratne and Jailor Prasad Kalinga Kaluaggala in connection with a number of irregularities that had occurred in the Negombo Prison.

The warrants were to be served and completed on July 29, Peiris said adding that on July 27, one suspect in the case Jailor Kalinga Kaluaggala had surrendered to the CID. He said that the second and third suspects in the case, Head Jailor Sarath Bandara and Jailor Sarath Nishantha surrendered to court.

“We raised the question as to what the Sri Lanka Police was doing for seven days until these two suspects appeared in court,” Peiris said. He said that a key witness in the case continues to be in prison and the failure of the Police to arrest the suspects would send a wrong signal to the informants and witnesses,” he added.

“If the 87,000 strong police force cannot track down an ordinary suspect, what is the message we are giving to the public” the Deputy Solicitor General questioned.

He said there is a large number of suspects apart from Sampayo who are also evading arrest despite warrants for their arrest. “The Police are carrying out operations to track down and arrest these persons,” he said. “While the responsibility of arresting them is with us, some go abroad, others go into hiding and make the task of arresting them tougher on law enforcement,” he added.

He said the Police are always on the lookout for those absconding and arrest the suspects when they receive information. “We are in no way helping Sampayo to remain in hiding,” he said. “Sampayo is not the only suspect who has evaded arrest while a warrant was out for him in the country’s history,” he said adding that the Police have always done its duty to arrest these suspects.

“Our officers have thrown a dragnet to arrest Sampayo and when the arrest is made he will be produced in court,” he said.

 

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