Suspects arrested over ‘Club Wasantha’ murder remanded until July 22

Court decision

Seven suspects, including Dulan Sanjula, the owner of a tattoo studio, were arrested in connection with the shooting in Athurugiriya that resulted in the deaths of Surendra Wasantha Perera, also known as ‘Club Wasantha,’ and another individual.

They were remanded until July 22, 2024, after appearing before the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court today (July 10).

Police stated that the suspects, aged 24 to 37, reside in Ahungalla, Balapitiya, Ganemulla, Ambalangoda, and Beliatta.

On Monday morning (July 8), Surendra Wasantha Perera, aged 55 and known as “Club Wasantha,” and Nayana Vasula Wijesuriya, 38, were killed in an attack by two armed men who broke into their new business establishment, a tattoo studio, at the Oruwala junction in Athurugiriya around 10:00 AM.

Club Wasantha’s wife, Menik Wijewardena, along with Yomana Kaushadhi, Singer K. Sujeewa, and another individual, were injured in the incident.

K. Sujeewa sustained severe injuries to her left leg from gunfire, while Menik Wijewardena, currently receiving treatment at Homagama Hospital, sustained serious lung damage.

The investigation, led by Deputy Inspector General of Police Gayanga Marapana of Western Province South, was updated at Athurugiriya police station today (July 10).

Dulan Sanjula, the owner of the tattoo studio, currently under arrest, was questioned along with other suspects.

According to his statement, the crime was orchestrated by criminals known as “Loku Patty” and “Una-Karuwe Shantha,” based in Dubai.

Police reported that “Loku Patty” facilitated funds for the launch of the tattoo parlor through Mahesh Dhanushka Silva, also known as Ketta from Balapitiya.

Here is a translated excerpt from the suspect’s interrogation:

Dulan Sanjula - Tattoo studio owner in Athurugiriya, Sri Lanka

DIG: Who initially informed you about this?

Suspect: Mahesh.

Police: What did Mahesh tell you?

Suspect: He mentioned a person and asked me to contact him.

Police: Did he mention the person’s name?

Suspect: No.

Suspect: Afterward, he inquired about the setup costs for the shop. I estimated it would cost between 1 to 1.5 million normally, but to do it well, around 1.5 to 2 million. He asked if it would be profitable.

Police: Who asked? Mahesh?

Suspect: The person who is overseas.

Police: Who is this person?

Suspect: “Loku Patty”. I explained what I knew about the tattoo business’s profitability. He said he would check and get back to me. Within two or three days, he confirmed and asked if I had found a location for the shop.

I hadn’t, so he told me to keep looking. I made inquiries and also obtained a quotation from another establishment. I sent it via WhatsApp to him. Then he sent around Rs. 200,000/- to me.

Police: Do you know this person?

Suspect: No.

Police: Who received the Rs. 600,000/- ?

Suspect: I informed him that I found a place.

Police: To whom?

Suspect: “Loku Patty”.

Police: Was Rs. 600,000/- given?

Suspect: The money was sent to the person I rent a house from. I did not have an account.

Police: What about Rs. 786,500/- ?

Suspect: That amount was deposited into Pramith’s account.

Police: After acquiring the shop, did “Loku Patty” contact you?

Suspect: Yes, he asked about the opening event. I mentioned K. Sujeewa and her popularity. He also asked about Club Wasantha.

Police: Who?

Suspect: “Loku Patty”. He asked if I knew Wasantha. I said I was a fan of Club Wasantha since childhood but did not know him personally. He suggested contacting him for promotion, saying if he could share a post about our shop on his page, we would get good publicity.

Then he sent me a screenshot of a number from a Facebook page, which was his wife’s business number.

Police: Did you speak to Wasantha?

Suspect: No, sir.

Police: Why not?

Suspect: I don’t know, sir. I was instructed to speak.

Police have gathered crucial information about the van used by the criminals to escape, which was parked for over three months at a house in Beliatta owned by a vehicle repossession agent linked to a financial institution. This person has been arrested.

During the investigation, it was revealed that “Una-Karuwe Shantha” managed the vehicles, while “Loku Patty” planned the business premises. The seven suspects were brought before the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court under tight security.

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