abductions end in Colombo murders
Ex-PC minister killed with 3 others:
Revenge killings of tea trade?
By Asif Fuard
A jeep of horror discovered at Cinnamon Gardens before dawn yesterday
has shocked the city a week after the chilling murder of a pretty
teenage girl at the Royal Park apartment complex.
bullet-riddled bodies, including that of a former Central Province
Minister and top tea trader, were found in a Land Cruiser at Cinnamon
Gardens early yesterday, police said.
Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle bearing the number 65-3636 was found
at Malalasekara Mawatha, Colombo 7 behind the SLIDA institute, with
the bodies, blindfolded and the hands tied.
victims were identified as former Provincial Councillor M.T.M Ameen,
who was also a tea factory owner, his 19-year-old nephew M. Zaheer,
another person Fahim and a worker in Mr. Ameen’s tea factory.
said their night mobile patrol found the bodies in the Land Cruiser
around 2. 15 a.m. They had observed the Land Cruiser with its signal
lights on. On closer inspection, they found two bodies in the back
seat and another two in the rear section soaked in blood.
police said they had found that the original owner of the Land Cruiser
was from Tissamaharama. According to preliminary investigations,
Mr. Ameen had rivals in the tea industry and his name had been mentioned
over the killings or attempted killings of tea tasters and others
in the industry some months ago.
The Land Cruiser had a wind screen sticker which stated in red lettering
President’s House, Kandy and was dated 19.03.04, an indication
that it had visited the President’s House on that particular
day or had permission to visit the place. Mr. Ameen was the former
Central Provincial Council minister for agriculture, irrigation,
trade and co-operatives. He had bought the Ramboda tea estate and
had plans to convert it into a hi-tech tea centre with cable cars
for foreign and local visitors.
revealed that Mr. Ameen and three others had been taken away by
persons in police uniform. They had come in a Dolphin van bearing
No. 58-2178 and it had been parked outside the Pussallawa Mosque,
apparently waiting till Mr. Ameen and others finished their Friday
the prayers ended at 1. 30 p.m., Mr. Ameen and the three others
were reportedly apprehended and put into the Dolphin van. Some of
Mr. Ameen’s friends said they had followed the Dolphin van
but lost track of it at Warakapola.
after the abduction, Mr. Ameen’s brother M. Rauf – an
SLFP organizer for the Kandy district rushed to Colombo to meet
Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana to seek his assistance in
Moulana told The Sunday Times he had contacted the Colombo Crimes
Division but did not get a feedback. So he contacted Police Chief
Chandra Fernando who promised a full search and probe, but yesterday
morning he received a call saying the bodies had been found.
Colombo South Police Superintendent Sarath Kumara said they found
fingerprints on the Land Cruiser and were trying to track down the
owner of the vehicle.
DIG Pujith Jayasundara told The Sunday Times yesterday that the
police could not act unless a formal complaint was made. “The
persons were abducted by those wearing police uniforms. Any one
can be imposters wearing the uniform. If a formal complaint was
made we could have alerted all stations. But the complaint was made
at 10.40 p.m. in Gampola just few hours before they were found,”
seats were vacant and we assume two people would have been seated
in front. We believe that they were taken to some other place and
killed and the bodies were just dumped here,” he said.