February 28, 2020
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    HC indicts former Colombo Chief JMO for forensic cover-up

    August 28, 2019

    The Colombo High Court yesterday served indictments on former Colombo Chief Judicial Medical Officer Prof. Ananda Samarasekara for his alleged role in the cover-up of the Mahinda Rajapaksa era murder of rugby star Wasim Thajudeen. Samarasekara is accused of covering up evidence when conducting the first post mortem on murdered Havelocks Sports Club captain Thajudeen’s body. Thajudeen was killed, ostensibly, in a road accident in Colombo in May 2012.

    The indictments have been filed against the former Chief JMO under Section 198 of the Penal Code for causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information in connection with the death of Wasim Thajudeen. The accused was ordered to be released on a cash bail of Rs.25,000 with two sureties of one million rupees by High Court Judge Manjula Tillekeratne.

    Defence counsel Shavindra Fernando PC appearing for the defence informed court that he was intending to raise preliminary objections against the indictments on the next calling date. The Colombo High Court ordered the police to ensure that the fingerprints of Samarasekara be recorded at the police post. The case will be taken up again on September 19 to hear defence’s preliminary objections.In the indictment, the Attorney General charges that Prof.Samarasekara had assigned two junior medical officers to conduct the first post mortem, although procedure required that he conduct it himself.

    According to the indictment, investigations have revealed that the former Chief JMO had acted in an irresponsible manner when he was conducting the first post mortem on Thajudeen’s body. The Attorney General charges that there is sufficient evidence to show that the accused had given instructions for the removal of several body parts from the body of Thajudeen under the guise of conducting further investigations.

    The Attorney General maintained that investigations have revealed that the accused had not conducted any further investigations regarding those body parts. The Attorney General further charges that the concerned body parts, which had been kept in the custody of Prof. Samarasekara at the Colombo JMO’s office, had gone missing.

    The Attorney General further alleges that the accused had taken a two-year period to issue the first post mortem report.However, the second post mortem conducted by the panel of Judicial Medical Officers revealed that the death of Thajudeen was not an accident but a murder. On July 27, 2015, the CID submitted to Court that the death of Thajudeen was not an accident but a murder.

    While delivering the verdict on the inquest, the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court on February 25, 2016, ruled that the death appeared to be a murder and ordered the CID Director to immediately arrest all suspects involved in the incident and produce them before Courts. The CID had informed court that investigations conducted so far had revealed that Thajudeen’s teeth had been broken, the bones in the pelvic region were also broken and his neck pierced with a sharp instrument prior to his death, following the so called “accident”.

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