by Hemantha Randunu
Translated by Uditha Devapriya
Makandure Madush is known as the Godfather of the underworld in modern-day Sri Lanka. A huge number of heinous crimes were done in Sri Lanka at his orders. He was also a major player in the heroin trade. After Madush was caught by the police he was detained at the CID for more than a year. Nothing came up from the interrogation. So he was handed over to the Colombo Crimes Division for further questioning.
Two or three days before his assassination, he revealed to a senior official information related to the crimes he had committed for nearly 20 years. He revealed all this in half an hour. This article is based on information taken from Madush’s confession.
One of the most brutal crimes in the history of the underworld in the country was the murder of Kos Malli and the exhibition of his decapitated head near the Hultsdorp court complex. Madush revealed step by step how he planned the murder of Kos Malli. It was really a revenge murder, planned in response to a murder of one of his confidantes, a man called Riskan. “Sir,” he remembered, “though Riskan was Muslim, he was like my brother. I will never forget the day he was murdered. Tears still well up in my eyes.
“Riskan helped me out once I was released from prison. After I was released I had nowhere to go and no place to live. Riskan took care of me when no one was there for me. Because of him I could enjoy life. After robbing a leasing company and killing Danny Hittatiyage’s brother-in-law, I was imprisoned in Negombo prison for six or seven years.
“During this time Kanjipani Imran became a good friend of mine. He was at Maligawatte. I got to know Riskan through Imran. Riskan gave me a place to stay in Colombo. My life began to turn for the better when I started working with him. By now I had gained enemies in the police, the criminal underworld, and a few politicians.
“My life was in great danger at that time. I wanted to get out of the country. I told Riskan about it. Riskan had good connections in Dubai. He was in the smuggling business with several Dubai businessmen. He arranged for me to go to Dubai. I had several cases in the courts and was banned from leaving the country. But Riskan arranged a forged passport under another name and prepared everything to fly me off to Dubai.
“He had arranged with several businessmen in Dubai to look after me and to accommodate me. When I said goodbye to him that day, I felt grateful to him. Later Kanjipani also came to Dubai. His presence emboldened me. Kanjipani Imran and I worked together to help Riskan, who mostly imported counterfeit cigarettes from Dubai to Sri Lanka.
“Later we got involved in the heroin business. Before long we became millionaires. I was able to get all the comforts of life in Dubai all because of Riskan.”
Madush thought for a moment. A flood of memories was swamping his mind.
“Riskan was killed on March 16, 2018. I have never been so sad. Only the day my mother was killed did I feel such sadness. Riskan had been brutally murdered because of me. The Kaduwela underworld killed him to get revenge on me and to hurt me. Riskan had no problems or any connections with the Kaduwela underworld. There was no reason why he should have been killed, other than his association with me.
“The Kaduwela Clique was full hate against for me after I planned and executed the murder of Samayan in Kalutara on the prison bus. At that time Gotha Asanka and Urujuwa ran the Kaduwela Underworld. They were the ones who planned the murder of Riskan. In the end Riskan had to pay for my sins.
“I was also involved in Riskan’s business in Sri Lanka. I had invested around Rs. 100 million in his newly started car rental service and other businesses. It didn’t matter if I lost my money. I was simply devastated that I lost a friend like that.
“I still remember that day like it was today. Riskan spoke to me twice or thrice that morning. That afternoon I got a call telling me that a group had come to the Kotahena office and shot him dead. I forgot where I was. I could not even imagine what had happened. I wanted to scream loudly and cry. I never dreamed he would be killed because of me.
Makandure Madhush was visibly saddened recalling the incident. The senior police officer saw grief, hatred, anger, and revenge was still lingering in his mind.
“Urujuwa and Gotha Asanka were in remand at that time. The two of them had set up the murder of Riskan. Two men from Kaduwela underworld had come on a bike and jumped into Riskan’s office and had shot him. However, one of the killers was captured by people in Kotahena and they had beaten him to death. The other had escaped on a bike from the crowd. A few days later, he was arrested by the police.
“I was so upset and enraged that my actions led to Riskan’s death, I wanted to kill everyone who had been involved in the murder. But at that time all involved were in remand. The only one out there that was connected to murder was Kos Malli. Actually, Kos Malli did not have anything to do with the murder. But his bike was used for the murder and I received information that he had spied on Riskan. Thus the only way to do justice to Riskan’s death was to kill Kos Malli.
I entrusted this task to Loku Ayya in Angunakolapelessa. Loku Ayya is very close to me. He was a JVP member during the 88/89 civil unrest. After our mother was killed, Loku Ayya took care of me. He helped me a lot when I was growing up. I treated him well for all that. I told him I wanted to avenge Riskan’s death. He had a good intelligence network in the underworld. And when he is assigned a task, he does it to perfection.
I told him that we have to do something that would shock the whole country. Those who killed Riskan will not be punished by the law. Kos Malli must therefore pay the price and his head must be presented to the court complex. Only then will justice be done. I handed over Kos Malli’s death contract to Loku Ayya. Kos Malli was in hiding.
“I deployed my own team to find Kos Malli. I have people to find anything anywhere in Sri Lanka. We found out that Kos Malli had a link with a boy named Madhu who worked at a massage center. Madhu knew where Kos Malli was. We contacted Madhu and made a plan to find out where Kos Malli was. There was a boy named Srimal in Angoda Boss’s gang. He was a distant relative of Madhu. Angoda Boss helped get Madhu involved in this case through Srimal. At that time Angoda Boss was in India. After Samayan’s murder he had fled to India with Ladiya. Angoda Lokka gave full support to do this plan from there. In the meantime, we found the whereabouts of Kos Malli through Srimal and Madhu.
“We were able to bring Kos Malli to Angunakolapelessa through Madhu saying that he would set up a hiding place for him. Kos Malli really believed that Madhu was helping him. He was caught to our trap. Srimal took a vehicle and brought Kos Malli to Angunakolapelessa and handed him over to Loku Ayya. Kos Malli didn’t have a clue who Loku Ayya was and what he was about to do.
On the day of the murder, I instructed Loku Ayya to feed and treat the man well. Ralahami and Amila Sampath were involved in the plan to aid Loku Ayya.
Amila Sampath has committed 30 to 40 murders. He was not afraid of anything. There was a large block of land near Angunakolapelessa Gotabhayagama. It was Loku Ayya’s. We had picked it as the place of Kos Malli’s murder and burial.
That night Loku Ayya, Ralahami and Amila Sampath came to the pasture with Kos Malli saying they have organized a party. But in the middle of the jungle he became suspicious and tried to escape. Loku Ayya threatened him by pointing a T-56 weapon at his head. He told Kos Malli he was here from the Army. Kos Malli became scared and obeyed his orders. Loku Ayya took a WhatsApp video call to me so I could talk to Kos Malli. He begged for forgiveness, but I wanted revenge. Amila Sampath had been assigned to shoot Kos Malli. Kos Malli was shot and I saw it happen through WhatsApp. I told Loku Ayya to cut off his head and parcel it. It arrived by car to the courts in Aluthkade.
“Remoshan, the son of Selli of Jampettah Street, was ready to take Kos Malli’s head on the Armour Street side. I had another boy ready to help him. I told Remoshan to put the head in front of the court. But by then it was the late in the morning and people were starting to walk around the place. So I told them to put the head somewhere nearby. The head was left on the side of the road. The whole of Sri Lanka was shocked that day. The police discovered the cause of death and the motivation behind it. Not only the police but the whole of Sri Lanka knew how powerful Madush’s team was now.
“Ralahami and Amila Sampath who killed Kos Malli stayed at the house of one of my relatives in Kamburupitiya for a while. But two or three days after the incident, Ralahami and Amila Sampath were caught by the police. A sergeant of the Kamburupitiya police had given information about the two. I called this sergeant on the phone from Dubai and threatened him. A lot can be bought for money sir. I’m not afraid of them.
“I slept well the night Kos Malli was killed and his head was brought to court. At last justice had been served for my brother Riskan’s death.”
BRICS emerging as strong rival to G7
It was in the fitness of things for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold a special telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin recently for the purpose of enlightening the latter on the need for a peaceful, diplomatic end to the Russian-initiated blood-letting in Ukraine. Hopefully, wise counsel and humanity would prevail and the world would soon witness the initial steps at least to a complete withdrawal of invading Russian troops from Ukraine.
The urgency for an early end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which revoltingly testifies afresh to the barbaric cruelty man could inflict on his fellows, is underscored, among other things, by the declaration which came at the end of the 14th BRICS Summit, which was held virtually in Beijing recently. Among other things, the declaration said: ‘BRICS reaffirms commitment to ensuring the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all with the aim to build a brighter shared future for the international community based on mutually beneficial cooperation.’
It is anybody’s guess as to what meanings President Putin read into pledges of the above kind, but it does not require exceptional brilliance to perceive that the barbaric actions being carried out by his regime against Ukrainian civilians make a shocking mockery of these enlightened pronouncements. It is plain to see that the Russian President is being brazenly cynical by affixing his signature to the declaration. The credibility of BRICS is at risk on account of such perplexing contradictory conduct on the part of its members. BRICS is obliged to rectify these glaring irregularities sooner rather than later.
At this juncture the important clarification must be made that it is the conduct of the Putin regime, and the Putin regime only, that is being subjected to censure here. Such strictures are in no way intended to project in a negative light, the Russian people, who are heirs to a rich, humanistic civilization that produced the likes of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, among a host of other eminent spirits, who have done humanity proud and over the decades guided humans in the direction of purposeful living. May their priceless heritage live long, is this columnist’s wish.
However, the invaluable civilization which the Russian people have inherited makes it obligatory on their part to bring constant pressure on the Putin regime to end its barbarism against the Ukrainian civilians who are not at all party to the big power politics of Eastern Europe. They need to point out to their rulers that in this day and age there are civilized, diplomatic and cost-effective means of resolving a state’s perceived differences with its neighbours. The spilling of civilian blood, on the scale witnessed in Ukraine, is a phenomenon of the hoary past.
The BRICS grouping, which encompasses some of the world’s predominant economic and political powers, if not for the irregular conduct of the Putin regime, could be said to have struck on a policy framework that is farsighted and proactive on the issue of global equity.
There is the following extract from a report on its recent summit declaration that needs to be focused on. It reads: BRICS notes the need to ensure “Meaningful participation of developing and least developed countries, especially in Africa, in global decision-making processes and structures and make it better attuned to contemporary realities.”
The above are worthy goals that need to be pursued vigorously by global actors that have taken upon themselves the challenge of easing the lot of the world’s powerless countries. The urgency of resuming the North-South Dialogue, among other questions of importance to the South, has time and again been mentioned in this column. This is on account of the fact that the most underdeveloped regions of the South have been today orphaned in the world system.
Given that the Non-aligned Movement and like organizations, that have espoused the resolution of Southern problems over the decades, are today seemingly ineffective and lacking in political and economic clout, indications that the BRICS grouping is in an effort to fill this breach is heartening news for the powerless of the world. Indeed, the crying need is for the poor and powerless to be brought into international decision-making processes that affect their wellbeing and it is hoped that BRICS’s efforts in this regard would bear fruit.
What could help in increasing the confidence of the underdeveloped countries in BRICS, is the latter’s rising economic and political power. While in terms of economic strength, the US remains foremost in the world with a GDP of $ 20.89 trillion, China is not very far behind with a GDP of $ 14.72 trillion. The relevant readings for some other key BRICS countries are as follows: India – $ 2.66 trillion, Russia – $ 1.48 trillion and Brazil $ 1.44 trillion. Of note is also the fact that except for South Africa, the rest of the BRICS are among the first 15 predominant economies, assessed in GDP terms. In a global situation where economics drives politics, these figures speak volumes for the growing power of the BRICS countries.
In other words, the BRICS are very much abreast of the G7 countries in terms of a number of power indices. The fact that many of the BRICS possess a nuclear capability indicates that in military terms too they are almost on par with the G7.
However, what is crucial is that the BRICS, besides helping in modifying the world economic order to serve the best interests of the powerless as well, contribute towards changing the power balances within the vital organs of the UN system, such as the UN Security Council, to render them more widely representative of changing global power realities.
Thus, India and Brazil, for example, need to be in the UNSC because they are major economic powers in their own right. Since they are of a democratic orientation, besides pushing for a further democratization of the UN’s vital organs, they would be in a position to consistently work towards the wellbeing of the underprivileged in their respective regions, which have tremendous development potential.
Queen of Hearts
She has certainly won the hearts of many with the charity work she is engaged in, on a regular basis, helping the poor, and the needy.
Pushpika de Silva was crowned Mrs. Sri Lanka for Mrs. World 2021 and she immediately went into action, with her very own charity project – ‘Lend a Helping Hand.’
When launching this project, she said: “Lend a Helping Hand is dear to me. With the very meaning of the title, I am extending my helping hand to my fellow brothers and sisters in need; in a time where our very existence has become a huge question and people battling for daily survival.”
Since ‘Lend a Helping Hand’ became a reality, last year, Pushpika has embarked on many major charity projects, including building a home for a family, and renovating homes of the poor, as well.
The month of June (2022) saw Pushpika very much in action with ‘Lend a Helping Hand.’
She made International Father’s Day a very special occasion by distributing food items to 100 poor families.
“Many are going without a proper meal, so I was very keen, in my own way, to see that these people had something to keep the hunger pangs away.”
A few days later, the Queen of Hearts made sure that 50 more people enjoyed a delicious and nutritious meal.
“In these trying times, we need to help those who are in dire straits and, I believe, if each one of us could satisfy the hunger, and thirst, of at least one person, per day, that would be a blessing from above.”
Pushpika is also concerned about the mothers, with kids, she sees on the roads, begging.
“How helpless is a mother, carrying a small child, to come to the street and ask for something.
“I see this often and I made a special effort to help some of them out, with food and other necessities.”
What makes Pushpika extra special is her love for animals, as well, and she never forgets the street dogs that are having a tough time, these days, scavenging for food.
“These animals, too, need food, and are voiceless, so we need to think of them, as well. Let’s have mercy on them, too. Let’s love them, as well.”
The former beauty queen served a delicious meal for the poor animals, just recently, and will continue with all her charity projects, on a regular basis, she said.
Through her charity project, ‘Lend a Helping Hand,” she believes she can make a change, though small.
And, she says, she plans to be even more active, with her charity work, during these troubled times.
We wish Pushpika de Silva all the very best, and look forward to seeing more of her great deeds, through her ‘Lend a Helping Hand’ campaign.
Hope and political change:No more Appachis to the rescue
KUPPI on the current economic and political crisis: intervention 1
by Harshana Rambukwella
In Buddhist literature, there is the Parable of the Burning House where the children of a wealthy man, trapped inside a burning house, refuse to leave it, fearful of leaving its comfort – because the flames are yet to reach them. Ultimately, they do leave because the father promises them wonderful gifts and are saved from the fire. Sri Lankans have long awaited such father figures – in fact, our political culture is built on the belief that such ‘fathers’ will rescue us. But this time around no fathers are coming. As Sri Lankans stare into an uncertain future, and a multitude of daily sufferings, and indignities continue to pile upon us, there is possibly one political and emotional currency that we all need – hope. Hope is a slippery term. One can hope ‘in-vain’ or place one’s faith in some unachievable goal and be lulled into a sense of complacency. But, at the same time, hope can be critically empowering – when insurmountable obstacles threaten to engulf you, it is the one thing that can carry you forward. We have innumerable examples of such ‘hope’ from history – both religious and secular. When Moses led the Israelites to the promised land, ‘hope’ of a new beginning sustained them, as did faith in God. When Queen Viharamahadevi set off on a perilous voyage, she carried hope, within her, along with the hope of an entire people. When Martin Luther King Jr made his iconic ‘I have a dream’ speech, hope of an America where Black people could live in dignity, struck a resonant chord and this historical sense of hope also provided inspiration for the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa.
This particular moment, in Sri Lanka, feels a moment of ‘hopelessness’. In March and April, this year, before the cowardly attack on the Gota Go Gama site, in Galle Face, there was a palpable sense of hope in the aragalaya movement as it spread across the country. While people were struggling with many privations, the aragalaya channeled this collective frustration into a form of political and social action, we have rarely seen in this country. There were moments when the aragalaya managed to transcend many divisions – ethnic, religious and class – that had long defined Sri Lanka. It was also largely a youth led movement which probably added to the ‘hope’ that characterized the aragalaya. However, following the May 09th attack something of this ‘hope’ was lost. People began to resign themselves to the fact that the literally and metaphorically ‘old’ politics, and the corrupt culture it represents had returned. A Prime Minister with no electoral base, and a President in hiding, cobbled together a shaky and illegitimate alliance to stay in power. The fuel lines became longer, the gas queues grew, food prices soared and Sri Lanka began to run out of medicines. But, despite sporadic protests and the untiring commitment of a few committed activists, it appeared that the aragalaya was fizzling out and hope was stagnant and dying, like vehicles virtually abandoned on kilometers-long fuel queues.
However, we now have a moment where ‘hope’ is being rekindled. A national movement is gathering pace. As the prospect of the next shipment of fuel appears to recede into the ever-distant future, people’s anger and frustration are once again being channeled towards political change. This is a do-or-die moment for all Sri Lankans. Regardless of our political beliefs, our ideological orientation, our religion or class, the need for political change has never been clearer. Whether you believe that an IMF bailout will save us, or whether you believe that we need a fundamental change in our economic system, and a socially and economically more just society, neither of these scenarios will come to pass without an immediate political change. The political class that now clings to power, in this country, is like a cancer – poisoning and corrupting the entire body politic, even as it destroys itself. The Prime Minister who was supposed to be the messiah channeling international goodwill and finances to the country has failed miserably and we have a President who seems to be in love with the idea of ‘playing president’. The Sri Lankan people have a single existential choice to make in this moment – to rise as one to expel this rotten political order. In Sri Lanka, we are now in that burning house that the Buddha spoke of and we all seem to be waiting for that father to appear and save us. But now we need to change the plot of this parable. No father will come for us. Our fathers (or appachis) have led us to this sorry state. They have lied, deceived and abandoned us. It is now up to us to rediscover the ‘hope’ that will deliver us from the misery of this economic and political crisis. If we do not act now the house will burn down and we will be consumed in its flames.
Initiated by the Kuppi Collective, a group of academics and activists attached to the university system and other educational institutes and actions.
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