Makandure Madush: End of a drug kingpin | Sunday Observer
Incident shatters underworld

Makandure Madush: End of a drug kingpin

25 October, 2020
A policeman inspecting the apartment in Maligawatta
A policeman inspecting the apartment in Maligawatta

Underworld figure and alleged drug kingpin Samarasinghe Arachchilage Madush Lakshitha alias ‘Makandure Madush’ met a bloody endin the wee hours of October 20. Shot and killed at the Lakshitha Sevana apartment complex at Applewatta in Maligawatta 20 months after being repatriated from Dubai, the incident and the narrative of events that led to the underworld figure’s death has now left the public divided.

In a Facebook post, the Policeman responsible for arresting Madush for his first known serious crime DIG Priyantha Jayakody provided people a glimpse into the underworld figure’s past. Madush aged 42 at the time of his death was born in Gathare, Kamburupitiya. It was only after his marriage that he had begun to live in Makandura earning him the moniker ‘Makandure Madush’.

According to Jayakody, initially Madush was suspected to have carried out a number of armed robberies in the country. It was with regard to these that he was first arrested by Jayakody in July 2006. “This was the first and the last time he was arrested in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Jayakody also revealed how Madush, while incarcerated, killed Southern Provincial Council Member Danny Hiththetiya through an accomplice. Released in 2011, Madush fled the country and took residence in Dubai. The underworld figure has been accused of numerous crimes, including the killing of other underworld figures, such as ‘Kos Malli’ and ‘Samayan’ while attempting to kill Police Narcotics Bureau IP Neomal Rangajeewa.

According to DIG Jayakody, Madush’s main criminal venture was smuggling drugs from Iran and Afghanistan by sea to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Maldives. “”He got many people addicted to drugs and lived a luxurious life,” DIG Jayakody said.


However, despite the string of horrendous crimes linked to him, his sudden death has raised concerns. The Police describing the events on the day said, Madush had been taken to the area to recover a drug haul he had revealed about. Madush was shot dead in a crossfire between officers from the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) and some gang members who had arrived and attempted to free the man from Police custody. According to Police Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana, Madush had accompanied CCD officers to the apartment complex in Maligawatta on a police operation to find a haul of narcotics.

The CCD officers recovered 22 kilos of heroin at one of the apartments at the complex. Senior DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon said two suspected gang members had ambushed the CCD team who were accompanying the suspect, opening fire with pistols. Two pistols have been found at the crime scene. According to the police, the fleeing perpetrators had also thrown a grenade at the group of policemen.

But activists and family members of the underworld figure have expressed their doubts about the Police’s version of events that day.

Impartial inquiry

Writing to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) this week, the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners called upon the Commission to hold an impartial inquiry into Makandure Madush’s death. In its letter to the HRCSL, the organisation sated that the killing of persons arrested by the Police and prisoners has taken place in Sri Lanka for many years. The Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners, therefore, requested the HRCSL to carry out a suo moto impartial inquiry and to release a report on the incident to the Government and the public. Lawyers representing the underworld figure this week also wrote to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), calling on the organisation to condemn the custodial death of their client and to take up the matter with the authorities.

The incident has sent shock waves among other underworld figures currently in incarceration. This was evident as notorious underworld drug kingpin Janith Madhusanka alias Podi Lassie filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal this week, seeking an order from the court to provide him with adequate protection. He is detained in the Boossa High Security prison over several criminal offences.

When the petition came up before the Court of Appeal on Friday, the Court decided to issue notices on the respondents, including the Boossa Prison Superintendent, the Chief Jailor of the Boossa prison, the Prison Commissioner General and the Attorney General.


Through his petition, Podi Lassie claimed to have received threats to his life and has requested the Court to order prison officials to take measures to ensure his personal safety. The petition stated that the respondents are duty bound to ensure the safety of inmates who are held in prison custody. Podi Lassie was named as the second suspect in the case filed over the death threats made in public at the Boossa Prison, against the President, the Defence Secretary and certain high-ranking officers of the Prisons Department. The petition will be taken up on November 10.