SRI LANKA: Truth without Hurt – A Senior Police Officer’s Perspective of Investigations into Political Crimes

We are publishing today a statement by JayakumarThangavelu ,a retired senior police officer, who held the rank of DIG in charge of legal division about his experiences as an investigator into political crimes and in witness protection.

He writes,
“In addressing this subject, I put down my experience of forty years in the Sri Lankan Police, where I retired as Deputy Inspector General, Legal Range, of which twenty years were spent in the Criminal Investigation Department, where I had the privilege of starting under Tyrell Goonetilleke, the renowned investigator, as my mentor. My experience in political crimes began with the Tamil insurgency in the 1970s, through the Sinhalese youth (JVP) insurgency of the latter 1980s, the commissions of inquiry in the 1990s, to the last phase of the war (2006 – 2009). Contrary to popular perception, it is my experience that the overwhelming majority of the police officers are well-trained, capable and if left free of interference by politicians and senior government officials, would do an honest job in investigating and interdicting crime. I had shunned politics and worked according to my professional and religious conscience. Indoing so I once confronted a Supreme Court judge who manoeuvred a commission of inquiry towards a political verdict and in another instance defended at the Human Rights Commission two police officers who tried to check criminal behaviour by a minister’s, son in the face of abusive language by the Minister which should have been disallowed in that forum. Nevertheless, I got my due promotions and was never penalised by the department. My career with the Commission of Inquiry into serious violations (2006 – 2009), headed by Justice Udalagama, continued into my retirement. I submitted my resignation to the Commission upon receiving and confirming instructions for my elimination instituted by some senior government officials on account of my witness protection activity. On finding that my resignation did not stanch the active threat to my life, I explained to the Commission and withdrew my resignation. From then on, until the Commission wound up in 2009, my dynamic protection activity had been greatly impaired; it had largely become a matter of protecting myself.”

You may read the full article at