Tuesday, 11 August 2015

I Am Willing To Cooperate Thajudeen’s Murder Investigation: Former STF Head

“I am willing to cooperate with the CID if they need my assistance regarding the death of Wasim Thajudeen, as I visited the scene of the accident in the early hours of the morning with my son and daughter who is a lawyer” the retired former DIG of the Northern Province and Special Task Force (STF) Head Nimal Lewke told Colombo Telegraph today.
STF Head Nimal Lewke
*The retired former DIG and STF Head Lewke
The retired former DIG and STF Head Lewke writing to The Island newspaper raised serious suspicions on the death of Thajudeen when he wrote “one wonders why it took three years for the inquiry to be conducted. There are reports, government analyst and other specialized unit’s initial report such as post-mortem which are contradicting. These experts’ reports and contradictions are a huge question mark. Why this case was not handed over to a responsible unit like the CID at the initial stages raises many questions. Who is responsible for that delay/suppression also have to be investigated. His Excellency needs to look into these blatant offences committed by state officers.Those guilty should not be allowed to get away as they live out of tax payers’ money”
“Being a police officer and since there is an inquiry, I do not want to comment about what I saw and my first impression. But I am making a strong appeal to the authorities and to HE the President to whom I have the highest respect and regard, to have a proper inquiry. In the name of justice, I hope the truth will come out even at this late stage. Wasim was a charming, innocent, young boy. I was like a father figure to him to the last day. Wherever he sees me, he comes running towards me. He always had that fatherly respect to me. From what I read in the papers, it seems that finally there is a possibility of justice being meted out to him after three years. A proper investigation unit (CID) is being handling the investigation.” he said.
When questioned as to why he himself waited three years to raise his suspicions and concerns now, the former DIG and STF Head said “I was retired at the time and I felt I had no authority to speak. But this is an opportune moment to voice my concerns, as I always maintained a Father/Son and a Coach/Player relationship with Thajudeen. I believe the CID is now on the correct path and the truth will prevail soon”.
Meanwhile the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s information center said that there is no evidence to claim that Thajudeen was tortured prior to his death as mentioned in the first released police report to the courts on the 21st of May 2012.
Following a court order the body of the slain Sri Lankan Rugby player Wasim Thajudeen was exhumed from his burial site at the Jummah Mosque Cemetery in Dehiwala this morning.
Judicial Medical Officer Dr. Ajith Tennakoon after the exhumation said that the body was identified by the family members of Thajudeen.
Earlier the Police had taken steps to provide 24-hour security to Thajudeens grave site fearing his remains may be removed before an exhumation.
According to Dr. Tennakoon if required DNA tests will be done to verify the identity of the body exhumed todday.
He also said that an exact time frame cannot me mentioned with regards to forensic investigation and added that the body was in a very good condition as it had been wrapped with a polythene bag before burial.
Meanwhile the United National Party (UNP) today tried to seek political mileage out of the incident on the eve of a crucial general election.
A large group of people posing as representatives of civil society and human rights organizations launched a protest near the cemetery when the exhumation was taking place.
The protesters were accusing the former President Rajapaksa’s family of being involved in the murder.
However some posing as human rights activists were seeing wearing wrist bands and holding placards which mentioned the names of some UNP candidates contesting the elections.
These messages read as “UNP Dinawamu (Let’s bring victory to UNP) and also the preferential numbers of several UNP candidates.
The Criminal Instigations Department (CID) launched a fresh investigation into the player’s death in 2012 after finding new evidence that Thajudeen was abducted and tortured prior to his “staged” accident.
The CID earlier requested the court to allow the exhumation.
Thajudeen died on May 17, 2012 when his car crashed into a wall near Shalika grounds in Narahenpita and caught fire. Earlier it was ruled as an accidental death but the recent investigations by the CID had found that the player was brutally tortured before his death.
We publish below the Lewke’s article in full;
Former coach on Wasim Thajudeen heroics: Ex-Coach appeals to President for fair inquiry on death of Wasim Thajudeen
By Nimal Lewke –
I was a successful rugby coach at all levels – schools, clubs and national. After successfully coaching Kandy Sports Club from 1995-1997, where they were triple champions for the first time in the history, I got the opportunity to coach S. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia in 1998.
It was a bit of a challenge as the Thomians were not doing well at that time and I was looking after the under-17 squad, grooming for the future. The Principal was that great educationalist Mr. Neville de Alwis, Deputy was Mr. Pakyanadan. There were gentlemen like Baila Samarasinghe, A.F. Fernando etc. helping the juniors.
I specifically remember picking Ashan Karthelis and Wasim Thajudeen. Both of them were six footers from the under-17 squad. Wasim was bit of a mischievous fellow. However, he was very talented and a fine kicker. I used to take him separately and teach him basics of kicking. Then I drafted him and Karthelis into the first fifteen squad.
Since I was coaching Kandy, I managed to get Kandy Fijians for the weekend. (Malik was not aware of it).
The Fijians were Manasa Quoro (man mountain) six foot eight, Opethi Thuruwa and Kiti. Opethi Thuruwa was the Fijian center who had the ability to kick the ball for a long distance where the ball will spin like a rocket. I have never seen anyone having that ability or technique. He taught the finer points of kicking to Wasim, who learned it in a very short period and mastered the art.
Wasim was a lovely child. He played as our regular stand-off, with booming kicks and very effective stand-offs. Wasim later went onto represent Havelocks SC and Sri Lanka.
But as I mentioned, he was a mischievous fellow. Sometimes he was late for practices. I am there by 4.30 sharp on the dot everyday and the boys knew it. If anyone got late, they hide behind the scoreboard especially Munna and Wasim. They usually hide behind the scoreboard and wait till I walk towards railway track side and they start run across the cricket grounds, but others alert me.
Eventually, they get caught and get punished. But it was fun. We all enjoyed practices.
By 2001, I made them a champion side. They were unbeaten league champions after a long time. Wasim was a key player in that champion side.
That Thomian side beat Royal College in 2001. It was a bitter-sweet moment for me as my son was representing Royal College.
When I heard about Wasim’s accident, early in the morning, I visited the scene along with my son and daughter, who is a lawyer.
Being a police officer and since there is an inquiry, I do not want to comment about what I saw and my first impression. But I am making a strong appeal to the authorities and to HE the President to whom I have the highest respect and regard, to have a proper inquiry. In the name of justice, I hope the truth will come out even at this late stage.
Wasim was a charming, innocent, young boy. I was like a father figure to him to the last day. Wherever he sees me, he comes running towards me. He always had that fatherly respect to me.
From what I read in the papers, it seems that finally there is a possibility of justice being meted out to him after three years. A proper investigation unit (CID) is being handling the investigation.
One wonders why it took three years for the inquiry to be conducted. There are reports, government analyst and other specialized unit’s initial report such as post-mortem which are contradicting. These experts’ reports and contradictions are a huge question mark.
From the paper reports, it appears that the investigation is in the last stages moving in the correct direction. But that does not mean that initial suppression of evidence at the outset from top to bottom should not be overlooked (if it has happened).
Why this case was not handed over to a responsible unit like the CID at the initial stages raises many questions. Who is responsible for that delay/suppression also have to be investigated. His Excellency needs to look into these blatant offences committed by state officers.
Those guilty should not be allowed to get away as they live out of tax payers’ money.
Goodbye Wasim! Until we meet again.
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