SC awards ex-CID officer Sugath Mendis Rs. 1 m in compensation

Saturday, 7 October 2023 00:56 –      – 62

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The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the State to pay former Criminal Investigations Department (CID) investigator Sub-Inspector Sugath Mendis compensation amounting to Rs. 1 million.

The Supreme Court issued this order after considering a Fundamental Rights petition filed by Mendis challenging his interdiction and withholding of his salaries by the Police after he was arrested and indicted over dubious charges of fabricating evidence in the prominent murder investigation of businessman Mohamed Shiyam.

Mendis along with former CID Chief SSP Shani Abeysekara were arrested in July 2020 and remanded for 11 months after being accused of planting weapons to frame former DIG Vaas-Gunawardena who was convicted along with his son and four others by a Trial-at-Bar for the murder.

The Supreme Court, with a three-judge bench composed of Justices Priyantha Jayawardena, S. Thurairaja, and Mahinda Samayawardena, determined that the petitioner’s fundamental rights, as guaranteed by Articles 12(1) (right to equality) and the right to occupation under Article 14(1)(g) of the Constitution, had been infringed upon by the respondents.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court directed the respondents to provide Sugath Mendis with retroactive salary increments, benefits, and promotions, including those up to the date of his retirement from the Police Service if he has already retired.

In his petition, SI Sugath Mendis pleaded before the Supreme Court that he was deprived of due process, wrongfully interdicted, and denied his salary and entitlements, causing hardships to him and his family.

After spending 11 months in detention, Mendis was granted bail in June 2021, along with SSP Shani Abeysekara, by the Appeal Court. The court observed multiple inconsistencies in the complaints against Mendis, which clearly included fabricated and untrue accounts.

Mendis alleged that he was arrested and detained for refusing to make false accusations that SSP Abeysekara had planted weapons to incriminate Vaas-Gunawardena and others.

The respondents named in the petition included IGP C.D. Wickremaratne, the Chairman and members of the Public Service Commission, the Attorney General, and several others.