Criminals among the disappeared

The Ministry of Defence has insisted that figures of people reported missing since last October have been exaggerated and of the actual figure most have a criminal background.

According to the Ministry of Defence only 18 people were reported to the police as missing between October last year and March this year and not 56 as claimed by some and of the 18 missing 15 were wanted over various crimes.

“Law enforcement authorities have carried out extensive investigations into these disappearances and come up with starling information about these individuals and their dealings. Interestingly most of these figures are underworld characters involved in organized crime, drug trade, extortion, kidnapping and such anti social activities,” the defence ministry said.

The ministry of defence says in some incidents of disappearances rival gangs may be involved and police investigations are underway.

The defence ministry says allegations of government involvement in some disappearances are made with ulterior motives to mislead the international community.

The Ministry of Defencesaid that  S Roshan, a student was allegedly reported as missing from February 2012 and authorities have found no evidence of any person missing on the said period or location. The same goes for the case of the reported disappearance of three ‘Veddah’ youth from Dehiattakandiya in March 2012. Four un-named ex-LTTE cadres were reported as missing between February and March 2012. And upon investigations it was found to be fallacious. No any incidents have been reported to the Police or any other authorities so far.

Six persons have been arrested by Police and Excise Department for various offences. Sanjeewa Alwis alias Thalawathugoda Suda was arrested by police with two of his associates in December 2011 for illegal possession of a weapon and involvement in armed robbery and organized crime. They had been produces to courts and investigations are continuing.

One person reported as missing has committed suicide due to personal reasons. Ten persons reported as missing have later been found. Authorities have taken into custody some individuals involved in the abduction of Korala Arachchige Santha who was subsequently found. Legal proceedings have been mooted against these perpetrators. Law and order authorities are continuing their investigations.

Janaka Priyantha Fernando alias Maalu Priyantha went missing on March 2012. Maalu Priyantha is a suspected  underworld gang leader and also murder suspect. He has a case is pending at the Colombo high court. Ruwan Chandimal Depp alias Navy Ruwan, a known criminal and drug dealer was reported missing on December 2011. He had legal cases pending for the illegal possession of fire arms and drug related offences in Awissawella and Kaduwela courts. Their disappearance is believed to be the result of gangland war. The same fate might have befallen his friend and accomplice Dhammika, also a gangster and drug dealer. He also has a case pending at the Warakapola courts. Authorities are continuing investigations into both cases. Amaratunga Arachchige Don Ajith Kumara and Velautham Chandrapala Methiyas alias Mervin went missing in February 2012. Ajith Kumara is suspected to be a leader of an underworld gang and Methiyas, a drug dealer is wanted by the Excise Department for several drug related cases. Authorities suspect rival gangs might have had a hand in their disappearance. Dhammika Pradeep alias karate Dhammika another infamous criminal who is accuses of murder, attempted murder, organized crime and drug pushing went missing in October 2011. He also has legal proceedings in Kaduwela and Wellampitiya courts.

R A Dinesh Buddhika went missing on January 2012 in Grandpass, Colombo. His dead body was later found in Totalanga in Colombo. Buddhika is a notorious criminal and member of an organized crime gang. Dinesh Indika Chandrasiri Silva went missing on December 2011 from Minuwangoda. Later his body was found at Kotadeniyawa. As a result of swift investigations by the Authorities a suspect has already been to under police custody.

So far 05 bodies of those who were reported as missing have been recovered, the Ministry of Defence said