Six-month ultimatum to wipe out underworld crimes

25 August 2023 06:24 am – 11      – 673

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In the wake of escalating killings and robberies across the country, the police, in collaboration with the Special Task Force (STF), have launched special operations to crack down on organized criminals and individuals associated with them, with the aim of completely controlling organized crimes in the country within the next six months, Western Province Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon told Daily Mirror.

The authorities have implemented measures to take strict legal action against those involved in organized crimes as Sri Lanka has recently experienced a disturbing increase in shootings, resulting in a significant loss of lives and injuries. According to statistics, 40 people have been killed in shootings so far this year while several more have been injured. Yesterday, two individuals were shot dead in the Adampan area of Mannar. The victims, a 46-year-old and a 53-year-old were riding a motorcycle when they were targeted.

Earlier, a committee was appointed headed by Tennakoon, appointed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to investigate and report on measures that can be implemented to combat drug and underworld activities. The committee was appointed under the guidance of Public Security Minister Tiran Alles.

The committee comprises of Senior DIG K.P.M. Gunaratne from the Northern Province, SDIG Sajeewa Medawatta from the Southern Province, STF Commandant DIG Waruna Jayasundara, CID DIG S.P. Ranasingha, Police Narcotics Bureau DIG Oshan Hewawitharana, Special Bureau DIG T.C.A. Dhanapala, and Colombo Crime Division Director N. Silva.

Senior DIG Tennakoon said the committee, responsible for assessing the current situation and proposing effective strategies to address drug and underworld activities, have compiled an extensive database of organized gangsters and associates operating within Sri Lanka.

It was revealed that some of these criminals continue to run their operations from within prison walls.

As a result, a special operation targeting to arrest these gangsters will commence next week, he said.

Tennakoon said that they had discussions with the Public Security Minister and the Minister of Rehabilitation & Prison Reforms in this regard.

In response to the concerning rise in shootings and underworld activities carried out by gangsters operating from overseas, the Senior DIG said that efforts will be made to tackle underworld figures operating from overseas. The police, in conjunction with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), will launch a coordinated effort to address this issue.

Furthermore, he said a programme has been initiated to re-investigate unsolved crimes and expedite pending investigations. The objective is to identify and apprehend suspects, as well as those who have aided and abetted criminal activities.

Apart from apprehending criminals, authorities are also focused on seizing illegally acquired assets and properties of underworld gangsters.

The Senior DIG said that these illegal assets will be confiscated following thorough inquiries, and steps have already been taken to initiate this process.(Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya)