Demolition of Soul Beach Restaurant Raises Questions of Police Power Abuse

(Lanka-e-News -02.Jan.2024, 11.30 PM) In a surprising turn of events, the iconic 'Soul Beach' restaurant, situated along the picturesque Marine Drive in Colombo, was demolished without any court order. The move has sparked controversy and suspicions of potential police abuse of power, with allegations that the demolition was orchestrated to seize the valuable land for a senior police officer.

The Department of Coastal Conservation and Coastal Resource Management took swift action on January 1st, removing what they deemed as illegal structures from the Soul Beach hotel in Dehiwala. The operation was carried out under the watchful eye of police security, leading to the arrest of two individuals, including a person identified as a director of the hotel.

The ownership of the hotel is reportedly linked to Shiran Basik, a major drug smuggler currently operating abroad. The revelation comes in the wake of the 'Yukthiya' operation, which exposed significant investments in businesses funded by illicit proceeds from drug smuggling. The police have since been actively investigating hotels along the Dehiwala coastline.

On December 20, a site inspection was conducted by police officers, including Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Hasantha Marapana, who is in charge of Colombo. The findings during this inspection revealed that the site had illegal constructions. Subsequently, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mangala Dehideniya, in charge of the Mt. Lavinia division, received orders to remove these structures.

The abrupt demolition has raised eyebrows, as it occurred without obtaining a court order, a standard legal prerequisite for such actions. Critics argue that this absence of due process could be indicative of an abuse of police powers, potentially driven by ulterior motives such as the acquisition of valuable land.

One notable aspect adding fuel to the speculation is the alleged connection between the hotel and a high-ranking police officer. If proven true, this would further underscore concerns of impropriety and favoritism in the execution of law enforcement duties.

In a curious twist of events, a musical event titled 'Chilandewa' was scheduled to be held at the venue on December 23. The event was set to feature popular acts like the band 2Forty2, artistes Bathiya and Santhush (BNS), IRAJ, Billy Fernando, Hana Shafa, and Shan Putha. The demolition, just days before this event, adds an element of mystery to the timing and motives behind the abrupt action against Soul Beach.

Community members and business owners along the Dehiwala coastline have expressed their concerns over the lack of transparency in the demolition process. Questions are being raised about the urgency and necessity of the demolition without following the legal procedures normally associated with such actions.

The arrest of two individuals associated with Soul Beach, including a director of the hotel, has also heightened suspicions. The public is demanding a thorough and impartial investigation to determine whether the demolition was indeed an abuse of police powers for personal gain or if it was a legitimate operation to remove illegal constructions.

Local activists and legal experts are closely monitoring developments surrounding the case. They emphasize the importance of upholding the rule of law and ensuring that law enforcement agencies operate within the bounds of their authority. The absence of a court order in the demolition of Soul Beach has become a focal point, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive inquiry to address the concerns raised by the community.

As the controversy unfolds, it remains to be seen whether the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) will provide clarity on the matter and assure the public that law enforcement actions are carried out with integrity and adherence to legal procedures. The Soul Beach demolition serves as a stark reminder of the delicate balance between law enforcement responsibilities and the protection of citizens' rights, prompting a call for accountability and transparency in the face of potential abuses of power.

-By A Special Correspondent

by     (2024-01-02 18:52:25)

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