How they killed Schaffter? | Sunday Observer

How they killed Schaffter?

18 December, 2022

The abduction for ransom of the then Aitken Spence Chairman G.C Wickremasinghe in 2000 was the first of its kind in Sri Lanka’s history. As the incident instilled a sense of fear among the country’s business community, the recent mysterious death of Dinesh Schaffter, the son of Chandra Schaffter, Chairman of Janashakthi Insurance has once again stoked these feelings leaving the rich and affluent in Sri Lanka concerned for their safety.

At the time of his death, Schaffter was the Managing Director of First Capital Holdings PLC and its subsidiaries with over 25 years of experience in the finance industry specialising in business valuation and restructuring. Believed to have been assaulted and tortured inside a car, Schaffter met his untimely demise at the Borella General Cemetry on December 15. According to sources, his death came just several days before he was to leave for the United Kingdom where he resides most of his time.

Suspicious death

The investigations into the suspicious death have now been handed over by the IGP to the Criminal Investigations Department.

Schaffter had been living at his residence on Flower Road in Colombo when the incident took place. According to his wife, Tarni Schaffter on the afternoon of December 15, he had left home around 2 p.m. in his vehicle bearing the number plate WP KU-8731 saying he would return in 30 minutes’ time. Instead of taking the driver along as the norm, Schaffter on the day had driven the vehicle himself. But as her husband did not return as promised, the wife had placed repeated calls to him that had gone unanswered.

She had then sent him a message but noticed it had not been read. Using her mobile phone, she then tracks her husband’s phone through GPS to the Borella Cemetery.

Krish Perera

Informing Schaffter’s friend Krish Perera of this, Tarni had sent Schaffter’s location to him requesting Perera to check up on her husband.

She had once again tried her husband’s phone at 3.17 p.m. But instead of Schaffter, another person answers her call asking her to rush to the National Hospital. It was only at the hospital that Tarni found out her husband had suffered a fatal attack and was now fighting for his life.

Schaffter had been found by Krish Perera on a lane near an Air Force memorial close to the crematorium near the Devi Balika Vidyalaya.

His hands had been tied and his neck choked using plastic cable ties. Perera with the help of a cemetery worker had removed the ties and rushed Schaffter to the National Hospital.

While Perera was later questioned by the Police, Perera told investigators he had worked for Schaffter for the past 19 years and works as a director of one of the companies run by Schaffter.

Identified as BT

According to him, Schaffter had informed him he was leaving to meet a person identified as BT on the day. BT, Perera said was none other than former Cricket commentator Brian Thomas. He revealed that Thomas owed Rs. 160 million to Schaffter and that a legal case was filed over the incident as well. Perera told Police the judgement had been given in favour of Schaffter and that yet another case was also being heard against Thomas at the Colombo Magistrate’s Court.

The Police uncovered that Thomas was currently on bail over a fraud amounting to Rs. 134 million and the complaint had been lodged against him by Dinesh Schaffter.

In addition to this, Schaffter had also lodged a CID complaint against Thomas on March 20, 2019 over a Rs. 1.4 billion deal. Thomas is said to have been an intermediary in the deal.

Fighting for his life

After fighting for his life for several hours, Schaffter passed away at 10.30 p.m. at the National Hospital leaving many questions unanswered.

Investigators believe whoever lured Schaffter to the cemetery was well-versed in its layout. They are also attempting to elicit information if the murderer chose the cemetery as he felt most safe there or had some connection to it.

Thomas has also come under the scrutiny of the investigators of the Murder and Gang Robberies Unit of the CID as Schaffter claimed he was heading out to meet him. However, at the time of writing the Police are yet to make any arrests or square in on a main suspect.

Nevertheless, the CID has since questioned Thomas and also obtained information from Schaffter’s mobile phone and its use. The Police are also going through scores of CCTV footage tracking Schaffter’s journey from his home to the cemetery.

Schaffter’s car

The Police SOCO teams have also gathered evidence of Schaffter’s car including four human hairs, a serviette and cable ties. All this is set to be presented to the Government Analyst to obtain further scientific evidence relating to the shocking crime.