The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) during its probe on Dr. Seigu Siyabdeen Mohammed Shafi
has uncovered severe shortcomings and irregularities including the submission of fabricated and falsified facts by high-level Police officials in relation to Dr. Shafi.
The Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court was subsequently informed of the CID’s findings. The CID further noted that there was no substantial proof to support the charges for which Dr. Shafi was arrested.
All this was revealed when the case was taken up for hearing on Thursday (27) at the Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court.
The 42-year-old doctor, a resident of Weerasinghe Mawatha, Gettuwana, Kurunegala, was arrested by Kurunegala Police on 25 May over three charges, which included obtaining money from a terrorist organisation and purchasing property, to avert a conflict between communities due to the prevailing tense situation in the area, and to prevent the suspect fleeing the area.
However, on 27 May, upon the instructions given by the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), the doctor was handed over to the CID by the Kurunegala Police and he was detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and is currently under investigation by the Department.
On Thursday (27), producing a 210-page B Report prepared by the Gang Robberies Investigation Unit Officer in Charge (OIC) IP Nishantha Silva, which included the summary of all statements recorded by the Department during their investigation held so far, ASP B.S. Tissera made a three-hour long presentation to the court explaining all aspects of the investigations done by the CID.
Irregularities of Kurunegala Police
Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah appearing on behalf of Dr. Shafi has told The Sunday Morning that there was no evidence presented to the court by the CID with regard to allegations made against Dr. Shafi.
“The CID informed the courts that they have found no evidence so far to prove the non-consensual sterilisation allegations made against Dr. Shafi.”
It is now learnt that the very statement recorded from a doctor at the Naula Hospital which led to the arrest, had been subject to irregularities. Although in the report sent to the CID Director, the Superintendent of Police (SP) in Kurunegala had claimed that the initial statement (i.e. first information) from the doctor was recorded on 24 May 2019 at 4 p.m. at the Naula Hospital, the said doctor had revealed that the initial statement had only been recorded on 25 May 2019 at the Naula Police Station, at the behest of SP Mahinda Dissanayake of the Kurunegala Police.
It was also revealed that SP Dissanayake had inserted false information into statements after Dr. Shafi was arrested and documents had been backdated in order to give legality to the arrest. Therefore, there was absolutely no proper information leading to the arrest while the report that was forwarded to the CID Director was a fabricated document. Furthermore, the said doctor made a statement with regard to an incident that allegedly occurred in Dambulla Hospital and therefore, the jurisdiction and scope were outside that of Kurunegala.
The CID informed the court that the arrest of Dr. Shafi had been made by Inspector of Police (IP) Nishantha Pushpalal of the Kurunegala Police to investigate him over three charges including whether he had received funds from a terrorist organisation and whether he used those funds to buy assets. According to the CID, the arrest was also made to avoid any conflict between the said doctor and the other party concerned as well as to preserve the peace in the area and to prevent the suspect from absconding as some information had suggested.
The CID also stated in its B Report that the details with regard to the first charge had not been revealed to the Police prior to the arrest and if there was a possibility of unrest erupting in the said area (second charge) the Police could have ensured the peace of the area, and with regard to the third charge, that the suspect still could be arrested if there was a reasonable suspicion that he had committed a cognisable offence, under Section 32 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
It was noted that to obtain the detention order (DO) and to arrest the suspect, the statements made by Dr. Deepani Nandasena had also been used. The CID informed the court through the B Report that they had requested two hospitals – Dambulla and Galewela – to submit comprehensive reports regarding the caesarean and LRT surgeries performed by the suspect while he was working in these two hospitals.
In addition, the complaints received by the Dambulla Hospital were currently being investigated and since the said hospital did not come under the jurisdiction of the Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court, the CID stated that the necessary action would be taken to submit a separate report to the Dambulla Magistrate’s Court.
It is further observed that although Kurunegala DIG Kithsiri Jayalath had alleged that he had received intelligence reports that inter alia Dr. Shafi was siphoning money from National Thowheed Jama'ath (NTJ) and was said to have provided false information to a national newspaper, around 10 security and intelligence arms had no records of the suspect being linked to any terrorist activity whatsoever and that surveillance by the CID Technical Assistance Unit had not yielded that Dr. Shafi had any connection via telephone with anyone already arrested in suspicion of being NTJ members.
The alleged links between Dr. Shafi and a terrorist organisation had also been investigated by the CID and so far, the CID had not found any evidence to prove this allegation either, the CID informed the court.
ASP Tissera informed the court that there appeared to be no basis to keep him in detention and therefore, he would be making a suitable representation to the Defence Secretary with regard to revoking the detention order against Dr. Shafi obtained under the PTA.
In its report, the CID stated that it conducted thorough investigations to see whether there was any connection between Dr. Shafi and the Easter Sunday suicide bombers, but none of the connections had so far been revealed.
Accordingly, 10 security divisions including the Kurunegala Police, Police Special Task Force, State Intelligence Service, Criminal Records Division, Terrorist Investigation Division, Western Intelligence Division, Police Special Bureau, Naval, Air Force, and Military Intelligence divisions revealed that Dr. Shafi had no records of terrorist activities.
According to the CID, it had also been reported that Dr. Shafi maintained connections with an NGO called Al Thawul Associated (Guarantee) Ltd. and it was revealed that he helped the Muslim community through that NGO. The bank details of the transactions from the NGO to Dr. Shafi had also been revealed during the investigation and the CID sought an order from the Magistrate to get the detailed bank reports from two banks.
Explaining the progress of the investigation into the alleged misappropriated assets, the CID informed courts that it had not found evidence to prove the allegation but further investigations were being conducted.
Furthermore, the CID launched an investigation into the bank accounts of the suspect. But so far, out of 21 financial institutions, only three institutions had been able to issue reports, and out of those three reports, it had been mentioned that the suspect had not engaged in financial activities with two institutions and the other financial institution stated that the suspect had obtained a credit card from the said bank. The CID made an application to the Magistrate to order the respective financial institutions to provide that information in order to conclude investigations.
In addition, a comprehensive investigation is currently being conducted on the assets of the suspect and following the statements recorded from the previous owners of the properties bought by him and the witnesses who signed when transferring the ownership of those properties, no suspicious or irregular activity had been reported.
The case was postponed until 11 July.