How can Tennakoon, such a guilty person, deserve the post of Acting IGP or IGP..?

-By RW

(Lanka-e-News -12.Jan.2024, 10.30 PM) Deshabandu Tennakoon hails from Kurunegala and he entered the University of Colombo in 1993 as Buddhist monk. He read for his degree in the Arts Special stream. While still in the university, he gave up his robes in 1995. Though he passed out of the University, during his term in campus he never actively participated in protests and maintained a low profile. He hardly made any friends and thus earned the nickname ‘Alaya’ or potato. His ambition was to somehow or the other become an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).

Meanwhile, during Deshabandu’s wedding, one of the attesting witnesses United National Party stalwart and Member of Parliament Vajira Abeywardana. However, when Deshabandu’s appointment as the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) had come up for discussion, Minister of Public Security Tiran Allas had reportedly approached Senior Presidential Advisor and President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Chief of Staff Sagala Rathnayake to influence the decision. However, Sagala Ratnayake had reportedly said that it would be better if they approached MP Vajira Abeywardana, since that would carry more weight. Anyway, the decision to appoint Deshabandu Tennakoon as Acting IGP for three months was taken later.

Now, the multi-million-dollar question arises whether after this article where each allegation against Deshabandu Tennakoon has been outlined, would he resort to legal action against us for defamation.

Allegation number 1

During the Provincial Council elections of 2011, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and then Colombo district MP Duminda Silva, both from the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), confronted each other at Walpola Junction on October 08, 2011, amidst campaigning for the PC polls with their respective supporters. A clash ensued between the two groups and Duminda Silva shot dead Bharatha Lakshman along with three of his bodyguards.

Interestingly, Deshabandu Tennakoon who was then a Superintendent of Police (SP) too had been reportedly present in Duminda Silva’s convoy but had not even attempted to amicably settle the argument between both parties. This has also been referred to by Bharatha Lakshman’s daughter, former MP Hirunika Pramachandra when she told mainstream media on 07 January, 2024 that Deshabandu was in a vehicle with others who had shot at her father. However, during the investigations into the incident, higher-ups had instructed the investigators not to record any statements from Deshabandu Tennakoon.

Allegation 2

Another allegation against Acting IGP Deshabandu Tennakoon is over the incident where journalist Poddala Jayantha was assaulted and seriously wounded.

Deshabandu had gone to record a statement from Poddala Jayantha, and he had said he had been abducted by Sri Lanka Army personnel under the instruction of then Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. However, Tennakoon had reportedly refused to record any statements against Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Later, due to these incidents, Poddala fled the island. However, after around two years, Poddala Jayantha returned to Sri Lanka and in due course appeared before the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and gave a statement. At that juncture, Shani Abeysekara who was the Director, CID had acknowledged that there are charges against Deshabandu Tennakoon over negligence of duties. Later, when Deshabandu was awaiting a promotion to the rank of Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG), he approached the CID for a recommendation, Director CID and Senior DIG Ravi Seneviratne reportedly refused a recommendation.

Deshabandu’s Revenge

However, Deshabandu Tennakoon never forgot his grudge against Shani Abeysekera. In vengeance, he fixed a case against Shani Abeysekera and as a consequence, Shani had to remain behind bars for around 10 months. Ultimately, after the case was heard before the courts, all available evidence was evaluated and finally Shani Abeysekera was cleared and discharged from all charges. Thereafter, Shani Abeysekera filed a defamation case against the former IGP and Deshabandu Tennakoon, claiming Rs. 500 million as compensation.

Allegation 3

Before the 21 April 2019 Easter Sunday bomb attacks, former Senior DIG Nandana Munasinghe had given clear instructions to police to prevent possible terrorist attacks on the Katuwapitiya church in Negombo. He had instructed police personnel to check all visitors to the church and not to allow anyone to take their bags into the church. However, Deshabandu had never communicated thus with any of his senior officers or OICs, but had left for Pasikudah in Batticaloa on 19 April. He had stayed at the Maalu Maalu Resort & Spa and his phone had been switched off.

There are two Fundamental Rights petitions filed against Deshabandu Tennakoon, moving the court to disqualify him from being appointed either as Acting Inspector General of Police or as the Inspector General of Police.

Allegation 4

During the ‘Aragalaya’ protest government Members of Parliament met at Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official residence Temple Trees 09 May 2022. With protestors too present in the vicinity of Temple Trees, a tense situation prevailed for hours. However, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed the police not to allow any government supporters to proceed to the Galle Face Green which was filled with Aragalaya members. However, clashes erupted between protestors and government MPs and supporters in front of Temple Trees. A group of government supporters proceeded towards the Aragalaya site at Galle Face. However, Deshabandu Tennakoon who was the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) in charge of the Western Province, ignored the President’s warnings and allowed government supporters to proceed towards Galle Face, where too clashes erupted and setting almost the entire country aflame.

During clashes throughout that day, three persons were killed and hundreds injured. However, no inquiries have been initiated into Deshabandu’s lapses so far.

Allegation 5

Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Deshabandu Tennakoon was found guilty of torture of an individual at the Mirihana Police Station and was ordered to pay compensation. The Supreme Court directed the National Police Commission to take disciplinary action against Deshabandu Tennakoon and the other accused.

Tennakoon and three other police officers were ordered to pay a compensation of Rs. 2 million out of their personal funds to the petitioner for violating his fundamental rights. The Supreme Court also ordered the State to pay a compensation of Rs.100,000 to the petitioner.

This particular incident reportedly took place at the Mirihana Police Station in 2011 when Deshabandu Tennakoon was in charge of the Nugegoda Police Division.

The petitioner had allegedly been assaulted by the Police after being arrested on suspicion and had been forced to inhale chili powder while being questioned. The court was also told that at one point the petitioner had been taken to his house after his arrest and had been assaulted in front of his wife and young children.

Allegation 6

After former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had left the President’s House on 09 July 2022 when protestors had surrounded it, and later when the protestors stormed into the abandoned building, bundles of cash amounting to Rs. 17.85 million were found in a room within. Following the recovery of this cash, an officer of the Police Special Task Force (STF) and several youths handed it over to the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Pettah Police Sagara Liyanage. This has been stated in his B Report by OIC Liyanage. He has also told courts that at that time SDIG Deshabandu Tennakoon had instructed him to hand over the cast to Minister Tiran Allas and that Liyanage had refused to do so.

Allegation 7

The then IGP C.D. Wickramarathne appointed Senior Superintendent of Police D.S. Wickremesinghe the Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) for an investigation. Following this, Deshabandu reportedly telephoned SSP Wickremesinghe and threatened him. In response, SSP Wickremesinghe had reported this matter to the courts.

Allegation 8

This is regarding the recent police shooting incident in front of a hotel at Palena, Weligama in southern Sri Lanka. It is very much contradictory to what the police and the Sri Lankan media portrayed it to be.

Minister Tyran Allas has had a dispute over a plot of land at Flower Road, Colombo. This land belongs to incumbent Uva Province Governor A.J.M. Muzammil’s son Jamaldeen.  Tyran gave instructions to Deshabandu Tennakoon to threaten those in the Weligama hotel which too belongs to Muzammil’s son Jamaldeen. Accordingly, a team from the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) led by Chief Inspector Anslem Peiris had gone to the Weligama hotel where they had threatened the staff and reportedly opened fire. The hotel staff had promptly called the police emergency line 119. A team from the Weligama Police had arrived at the scene and seeing men with weapons, had assumed that they were underworld gangsters and opened fire.

Following the exchange of fire, the CCD team from Colombo had left the scene in their van. Seeing the van fleeing, the Weligama Police alerted all police posts around the area to apprehend the suspects in the van. Thus, the van was intercepted while on its way to the Imaduwa interchange to Colombo on the Southern Expressway.

Inside the vehicle, police personnel saw two seriously injured men. When they had identified themselves, arrangements were made to rush them to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, where Sergeant Chaminda Kumara, a resident of Galewela, succumbed to his injuries. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Sub Inspector. The other injured police officer was a sub-inspector.

Interestingly, when Chief Inspector Anslem Peiris had called Acting IGP Deshabandu Tennakoon seeking assistance to rush the injured police personnel hospital for emergency treatment, Deshabandu had reportedly said that if they divulged that the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) is an official underworld arm for Deshabandu and Tiran Alles, all the officers involved in the incident will be transferred.

Also, it is reliably understood that Acting IGP Deshabandu Tennakoon wants to transfer suspected drug trafficker and underworld figure Nandun Chintaka alias ‘Harak Kata’, who is under the custody of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), from the CID to the CCD and then have him killed.

Allegation 9

Recently, Hotel Soul Beach, a beachfront hotel in Dehiwala was demolished by police claiming that it belonged to a drug businessman, had been built through funds obtained from drug trafficking, and that it was an unauthorized construction.

The owners of this hotel claim that they had paid the relevant lease to the Railways Department to which the land belonged and hence not an unauthorized construction.

Sources point out that the normal procedure to demolish an unauthorized construction is to first obtain a court order, give notice to the owners of the building and if the notice is ignored, then remove any movable assets of value before the demolition. However, none of these procedures had been followed regarding the Hotel Soul Beach, confirming that this was done on Deshabandu’s instructions.

There have been numerous Inspectors General of Police in Sri Lanka, in fact, 34, and history has never witnessed such an inefficient SDIG as Deshabandu Tennakoon being appointed as Acting IGP, let alone as IGP! And to make matters worse, this is the first-ever IGP that Sri Lanka boasts of, who has been convicted of violating Fundamental Rights, accused of torture and who has clearly violated the Sri Lanka Police Ordinance.

Most say that Acting IGP Tennakoon is not suitable to be the IGP but only as a mess boy!

A fact to be noted is that an Inspector General of Police in Sri Lanka can be removed through an investigation by a 3-member committee if found guilty of specified offence(s) under the Removal of Officers (Procedure) Act No. 5 of 2002.

-By RW

by     (2024-01-12 17:23:19)

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