Media reported the incident of Sri Lankan drug dealer Gampola Vidanage Samantha Kumara aka Wele Suda being acquitted by court on one case against him over possession and trade of six milligrams of heroin. The cause for acquittal is contradictory evidence on the amount of production. Many accused in Sri Lanka are acquitted similarly in courts on the grounds of prosecution failing to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
The case is peanut for the drug baron who has already been sentenced for death for the possession of about 7.05 grams of heroin. Sri Lanka can impose death sentence to anyone who possesses over six grams of heroin. However, this case too is infinitesimal compared to his conduct even though it ultimately fettered him. The case was filed in 2008 when Wele Suda was up and coming and the case dragged until October 2015.
In between Wele Suda allegedly had bigger deals even with the Ministry of Defense and the Police Department. Suspicions were raised over the tampering of evidence against him in this case.
Wele Suda closely associated and funded MP Duminda Silva who was a close ally of the then Secretary of Defense Ministry Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Wele Suda said he fled the country in 2011 in fear of MP Duminda Silva abducting and assassinating him to get more money. He first fled to Singapore under forged passport and then migrated to India and Pakistan.
Another Sri Lankan drug dealer Mohammed Siddik helped him in regard of these affairs, as Wele Suda said in the hearing of the case against him.
Wele Suda also associated the then Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya who is accused of building a mansion in Kelaniya with dubiously-earned money. The former Inspector General was introduced to Wele Suda by MP Duminda Silva, as he said.
Wele Suda was born in a poor family in Badowita, Mount Lavinia in Colombo city outskirts. He is illiterate but educated his three children in private schools. He is accused of amassing wealth illegally and a case has been filed against him, his wife Bogahawattage Gayani Priyadarshani aka Suji and one of his female cousins with regard to money laundering in relation to property and cash worth of approximately Rs. 170 million. The property included BMW car, Land Rover, residencies in prime locations in Colombo city and gold.
Wele Suda was later arrested by an intelligence agency of Pakistan in November 2014 and sent to Sri Lanka in January 2015, immediately after the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime collapsed.
Wele Suda’s cohort Siddik was also arrested and sent to Sri Lanka by Pakistan in March 2015.
With these developments, former police chief Mahinda Balasuriya fled the country. Before that he had been placed in diplomatic service. Ironically, Rajapaksas called him back to Sri Lanka to appoint him the secretary of the Ministry of Law and Order. Balasuriya is still evading arrest and no action has been taken so far to bring him to books.
Wele Suda had dubious deals with other police officers as well and said in the hearing that once he had tipped police off a cache of 85.5 kilos of heroin smuggled to Sri Lanka by Siddik. The loot was being transported in a car on Kelaniya Road, Biyagama, north of Colombo district when police captured it. The officers were poured with praises and gift money.
Wele Suda also informed police about a shipment of tractors from Pakistan in which heroin was smuggled hidden in engines and wheels. However, heroin had been smuggled out by Wele Suda’s men before police raided the storage yard.
- Perakum Jayasinghe