Angoda Lokka: Alive or dead? | Sunday Observer
Indian authorities await DNA report

Angoda Lokka: Alive or dead?

9 August, 2020
The house, Angoda Lokka, was living in, in Coimbatore.
The house, Angoda Lokka, was living in, in Coimbatore.

The Crime Branch of the Criminal Investigations Department (CB – CID) of the Tamil Nadu Police, India has intensified efforts to ascertain if the man who died in Coimbatore recently identified as Pradeep Singh is, in fact, the Sri Lankan underworld figure Maddumage Lasantha Chandana Perera, alias Angoda Lokka.

While the Indian authorities await the results of a key DNA test, the question remains – is the wanted criminal responsible for some of the most heinous crimes in Sri Lanka dead or alive?

Angoda Lokka

According to Indian media reports, the CB – CID has sent biological samples of the deceased to a government forensic laboratory in Chennai for DNA profiling which will then be matched with DNA obtained from his family. According to K. Shankar, Inspector General of Police in charge of the CB – CID identifying the deceased man correctly is the top priority for the investigators.

As the Indian Police scramble to unravel the mystery behind the man’s identity, this intriguing story began to unfold when on August 2, the Coimbatore Police said that the Sri Lankan criminal Angoda Lokka is suspected to have died suspiciously in early July in India.

The Coimbatore Police had at the time arrested three persons in connection to the case identified as Amani Thanji (27) from Colombo, D. Sivakamisundari (36) from Madurai and S. Dyaneswaran (32) of Erode, India.

The initial Police report noted that Thanji had taken Angoda Lokka to a private hospital around 9.30 p.m. on July 3 where he was pronounced dead on admission.

According to the Police, Thanji had visited Angoda Lokka at least three times in Coimbatore. She had last visited the city on March 5 and had been stranded in India due to the Covid-19 lock down and was living with Angoda Lokka at the time of his death.

Forged documents

The day after his death, Sivakamisundari, on Thanji’s instructions, had visited the Peelamedu Police station on July 4 claiming that a relative of her’s Pradeep Singh had died of cardiac arrest.

On the following day, Sivakamasundari had come to Coimbatore and managed to take the body to Madurai for cremation, by submitting forged documents to the police.

While she had submitted a copy of his Aadhaar identification card at the station, the Police during the investigation found that it was obtained through forged documents and the deceased was in fact Sri Lankan fugitive Angoda Lokka and that he had been living with Thanji in India illegally.

Further investigation revealed that it was Dyaneswaran and Sivakamisundari who had forged several documents for Angoda Lokka and Thanji.

The trio was booked under Sections 120 B, 177, 182, 202, 212, 417, 419, 466, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code for charges including criminal conspiracy and forgery of documents.

The story also took bizarre twist when five agents from the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the foreign intelligence service of India met the CB – CID which is leading the investigations last week to probe Angoda Lokka’s criminal history and specifically his alleged links with known LTTE sympathisers.

RAW had obtained files relating to the investigation from the CB - CID. Sundari’s father, identified as an LTTE sympathiser, was later arrested in Madurai for also assisting Angoda Lokka during his two-year stay in India.

While the investigation was first conducted by the local Police the Director-General of Police (DGP) for the Indian State of Tamil Nadu J. K. Tripathy on Monday, August 3, took steps to transfer the case relating to the suspicious death of the man to the CB-CID from the Coimbatore Police after reviewing reports of Coimbatore police and ‘Q’ Branch.

Suspicious death

Two fresh FIRs (First Information Report) were filed on the same day by the agency under Section 174 of the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure for the suspicious death and for the fabrication of documents to obtain an Aadhaar identification card.

Seven special teams have now been formed to conduct investigations as well, Shankar confirmed. The Police investigations span beyond his suspicious death and will also probe into his illegal stay in the country, alleged fabrication of documents, impersonation and those who assisted him during exile.

Indian Police also found foreign currency from the house at Cheran Ma Nagar in Coimbatore, where he lived with Thanji.

Some suspicious transactions were also noted in the bank account of Sivakamasundari as well. Sources said Sundari had seven bank accounts and transactions between Indian Rs. 5 to 10 million were made through these accounts. Police said a laptop, a pen drive and two mobile phones were also seized.

If the identity of the deceased is confirmed as Angoda Lokka by the Indian authorities, it would mark the end of the notorious underworld kingpin who once spread fear in the Kelani Valley.

According to local law enforcement officials, Angoda Lokka (35), as a youth had almost become a prison officer following his Advanced Level examinations but had instead chosen a life of crime.

Underworld figure

Joining an underworld figure named Angoda Cheeti, Maddumage Lasantha Chandana Perera earned the moniker Angoda Lokka as his group began to rule the underworld from Wellampitiya to Avissawella.

He is believed to be responsible for killing an underworld figure named Angoda Mocha, a rival of his first boss Angoda Cheeti.

According to the Police, Angoda Lokka along with his associates Baldi Priyantha, Ladiya and others are accused of being responsible for at least eight murders and a plethora of other crimes including illegal sand mining, land reclamation, extortion and drug smuggling.

The Police also recently uncovered a land reclamation racket being carried out by his associates in Kotikawatta after forcefully obtaining land from their rightful owners including land belonging to the Kotikawatta Pradeshiya Sabha.

But he gained notoriety when in February 2017 he and his gang killed underworld figure and rival Aruna Udayashantha alias Ranale Samayan after attacking the prison bus he was traveling in thereby ending a bloody turf war which had continued for years.

The brazen attack ended in the bloody killings of seven persons on the day, including two prison officials.

It had been planned along with another underworld figure, the currently incarcerated Makandure Madhush.

It was after this attack that Angoda Lokka along with Ladiya had fled to India by boat. Despite being away from Sri Lanka, his gang had carried out his orders and criminal activities unhindered since.

The fact that Angoda Lokka had fled to India following this was confirmed when in 2017 Angoda Lokka was arrested by the Chennai Police after it was revealed his entry visa to India and the Sri Lankan passport were forgeries. Angoda Lokka had been trying to return to Sri Lanka when he was arrested.

The Sri Lankan Police have also not confirmed if the wanted criminal is in fact dead. During a media conference at the Police headquarters last week Police Spokesman SSP Jaliya Senaratne said it has not been confirmed if the underworld figure has in fact died. “According to information currently with us it has not been revealed if he has died, changed his name or he was in hiding in India,” he said.

“Depending on the information revealed we will proceed with legal action to ensure he is arrested if alive,” Senaratne said, adding that Police have taken stepss to approach the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka with regard to reports of the drug kingpin’s death in Coimbatore.