Police seek public
support to catch commando extortionist
Police are seeking public cooperation to arrest an
ex-Army Commando Widanagamage Sampath Chaminda (34),
who escaped from the Terrorist Investigation
Department (TID) custody at Kadawatha on February
11. He is wanted for being involved in terrorist
activities and extortion.
The suspect had been living in Suripaluwa, Kadawatha
for about three years after leaving his hometown at
Pansalewatta, Imaduwa, Galle. He had served the Army
Commando Regiment as a Lance Corporal eight years
ago. Suspect Sampath had last served in the Army
Commando Regiment Camp at Ganemulla before he
deserted his unit.
Police sources said Sampath is one of the
accomplices of Maj. Manamendra Dassanayake who is
now in remand for allegedly aiding and abetting the
LTTE in the assassinations of Lieutenant General
Parami Kulathunga – Deputy Chief of Staff of Army,
and Lieutenant Colonel Tuan Nizam Muthaliff –
The attempt made by the TID to arrest Sampath at
Suripaluwa in Kadawatha had been unsuccessful as he
fled away evading the police.
Highly placed police sources told The Nation that
investigations had revealed that suspect had been
involved in terrorist activities and large-scale
extortion in Colombo and suburbs. In one case, he
had collected a ransom of Rs. 40 million after
abducting Tamil businessman Gandhi Dasan at Ward
Place in 2006.
Major Dassanayake and nine Army deserters who are
his accomplices were declared wanted by the Police
in the first quarter of 2007 and three of the
suspects had been arrested. The others, including
Sampath had been evading arrest.
On a tip off, the TID had been able to apprehend
Sampath at the Bandaranaike International Airport
while he was trying to go abroad using a forged
passport with a bogus name. Under interrogations
Sampath had allegedly revealed that he was involved
in another ransom taking case at Hekithha area in
Wattala where he had obtained Rs. 8 million by
abducting a Tamil businessman in March 2008.
Again in the same month, Sampath had allegedly
abducted a leading businessman at Negombo and taken
Rs. 2 million from him, interrogations have
On February 11, when Sampath was being taken to a
place where he had bought a new land at Kadawatha,
and built a house using the monies he took as
ransom, for further inquiry he had given the slip to
Investigations have revealed that he had kept the
abducted victims in houses rented in areas such as
Kadawatha, Negombo etc.
A top TID Officer told The Nation that the public
not to be hesitant to provide information to the TID,
CID or CCD, in connection with any case of ransom
taking. Due to public fear, they are often unable to
take any proper actions against extortionists since
many victims are afraid to come forward.
The Police described the suspect as a slim person of
5.7’’ in height. He was wearing a green short
sleeved T-shirt with a black trouser at the time of
escape from the Police.
Police request the public to provide information on
Widanagamage Sampath Chaminda on 011-2451631,
011-2451634, 011-2344404, 2451636, 011-2321838