Police look for Minister’s aide Kahawatte double murder

The Police yesterday cast a huge net for the arrest of Godakawela Pradeshiya Sabha Member H. L. Dharmasiri, who is one of the principle suspects in the Kahawatte double murder of a mother and daughter in the Kotakathena area at Kahawatte on or about January 31.

Police investigations have so far revealed that the double murder had been caused by Dharshana Lokugamhewa, alias Raju, the brother of the Pradeshiya Sabha member with the latter’s knowledge. Police said that the Pradeshiya Sabha member had fled from the area with his relatives.

So far, Raju, his wife and the three wheeler owner, directly involved in the crime, have been arrested and questioned by the CID sleuths.

The Police yesterday also recovered the clothes Raju allegedly wore at the time of the killing. They were splattered with the blood of the victims and hidden in a stream behind his house. The ‘manna’ knife which had been used in the killings and the trishaw which was used to transport the body of the victim daughter were taken into custody by the police earlier.

Investigations conducted by the CID have revealed that the reason for the killings had been a dispute that arose over Raju using innocent Kavindya to courier heroin.

The deceased daughter – 19-year-old Kavindya Chathurangani was a student of Ferguson’s Girl School, Ratnapura. The killer had been living in the neighbourhood. It has also been revealed that Kavindya’s family and the family of the killer had been maintaining a close association and friendship as neighbours. It all began when the suspect killer and his wife had asked Kavindya to carry a parcel of food to one of their relations at the Ratnapura bus stand, while on her way to school.

One day, Kavindya had come home with the parcel without going to school as she had fallen ill and her mother, on suspicion, had opened the so called packet of food and found packets of heroin inside. Provoked, she had gone to the neighbours and scolded them for putting her innocent daughter into in danger by dragging her into their criminal activity. This followed the two families distancing themselves from each other. Raju’s brother, who is the Pradeshiya Sabha member, also has a son who served as a Prison Guard and recently had been jailed for possessing heroin in his almyrah within the prison premises. It is also revealed that the consignments of heroin that Kavindya was asked to transport under the guise of a parcel of food was also meant for this son of the Pradeshiya Sabha Member who is now serving a prison sentence. The PS member’s son had been caught with heroin inside his quarters only about a week after Kavindya’s family found out about the food parcel ruse.

Therefore, the suspicion over the arrest of the Prison guard son, of the Pradeshiya Sabha Member, was due to the story being leaked by Kavindya and her mother. They developed rancor and acrimony against Kavindya and her mother and it had led to mother and daughter being killed on January 31. That day Kavindya and her mother had arrived home late at around 9.00 p.m. after going to Ratnapura

The killer and the wife, who had been on the lookout and waiting the arrival of Kavindya and her mother, had visited them soon after they arrived. Raju’s wife had called Kavindya’s mother, Nayana Nilmini and said that there was no need for them to be angry over the disputes and that all matters should be sorted out calmly. Raju’s wife had appealed to Nayana Nilmini to open the door and let her in to amicably sort out matters.

Nayana Nilmini opened the door. Then, Raju, who had been in hiding, had suddenly surfaced and stormed into the house with his wife and closed the front door. Raju had pulled a knife and attacked Nayana Nilmini on her head. At that time Kavindya was changing her clothes and when she came out to see why her mother was screaming, she saw Raju holding a knife. She had raised cries. Then Raju had attacked Kavindya also on her head.

Raju and his wife had returned to their house having killed both mother and daughter and had been sitting on the settee of their house in blood stained clothes. Their children on seeing that, had been frightened but had silently gone to sleep in a room.

It was within hours of the double murder that Raju had returned to the house of the victims in a trishaw at about 1:00 a.m. Raju had removed Kavindya’s clothes and taken the dead body to the well behind the house where he washed it.

He and the three wheeler driver had then taken the body wrapped in a bed sheet to the forest at Opatha, Kahawatte. He had placed her body there and left after taking her earrings. The idea of placing the naked dead body was with the intention of leading the police astray.

There were eleven Police teams and four special Police teams which were deployed for the investigations. The Police had got statements from over 50 people who had been probed over five weeks. They also arrested Raju and his wife but decided not to disclose any details to the public after that.

The CID, on knowing that Raju and the wife had been associated with the killing, had solicited information from their four children as well. The eldest son said that their father had been wearing blood stained clothes on the day of the double murder. Raju, when arrested, had revealed the entire story to the Police. The trishaw driver who transported Kavindya’s body was also taken into custody.

The neighbours of murdered mother and daughter had been enraged by the killings and had torched Pradeshiya Sabha member Dharmasiri’s house and four other houses. He and their relations had fled the Kahawatte area and are in hiding. Dharmasiri had also served as the Coordinating Secretary of Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister John Seneviratne.

Police sources said that there was political influence and pressures exerted on the Police to stop the investigations which was also the reason for the delay in the arrests.

Meanwhile, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister John Seneviratne yesterday said he had terminated the services of his coordinating Secretary Dharmasiri Lokugamhewa, a Godakawela Pradeshiya Sabha member, who is the elder brother of the first suspect in the Kahawatte double murder.

Minister Seneviratne said that about two weeks ago, the police informed him that they suspected Raju’s involvement in the killings and were awaiting more evidence. “But I told the police to go ahead with their duties,” the Minister said.

When contacted the Pradeshiya Sabha member said that his brother Raju occupied his house in Kahawatte whenever he and his family went to his wife’s home in Matara and on the day of the double murder too Raju and his family had lived in his house.

Even Raju’s children went to school from his home, he said.

Meanwhile, the CID told The Island that the key suspect had painted a wall in one of the rooms of his house which he occupied and this had aroused their suspicions. A senior officer said, when questioned, that the suspect had attempted to mislead the police by claiming that he was forced to paint the wall as his children had lit camphour in the particular room and there was soot on the walls.

But the sleuths said that Raju was attempting to lay a red herring and mislead the police. What actually had happened was that the main suspect and his wife had returned to the house after the double murder with blood of the victims on their bodies and clothes and some of that had got on the wall. To cover the blood stains they had repainted the wall.

Meanwhile, Dharmasiri yesterday complained to DIG Asoka Wijetillake that he had lost many valuables including a glass jar with Rs. 700,000 worth of gems and Rs. 200,000 in cash after looters torched his house on Wednesday.


Courtesy: The Island