Vidya murder case:
Seven accused sentenced to death
Three-judge bench finds them guilty on all 41 counts
September 28, 2017
by Hemantha Randunu and Dinasena Rathugamage
The Trial-at bar, which heard the Vidya murder case in Jaffna sentenced seven of the accused to death yesterday.
The bench comprised High Court Judges Shashi Mahendran (President), Anna Lingam Ravi Shankar and Manickawasagar Illancheliyan.
The 332 page verdict was read out by the President of the Trial-at-bar and Vavuniya High Court Judge Shashi Mahendran.
The bench found the accused guilty of all 41 counts.
Two other accused who turned state witnesses were exonerated of all charges.
In addition to the death sentence the convicts were sentenced to 30-years rigorous imprisonment each and fined Rs. 40,000 each and ordered to pay the mother of the victim one million rupees each as compensation.
If they fail to pay compensation, they will be sentenced to an additional two-year prison term each.
The bench hailed the CID for its impartiality in conducting the investigations and the promptness in producing the suspects in court.
Special mention was made about ASP B. S.Tissera and Inspector Nishantha Silva.
The mother of the victim and a number of her relatives and friends were present in the court to hear the verdict and over 5,000 people thronged the High Court premises.
Vidya’s mother fainted before the verdict was delivered.
The three judges announced their conclusions in Tamil individually.
The convicts are Gopalsingham Jayakumar alias Ravi, Gopalsingham Navakumar alias Sendil, Wahalingham Sashidaran, Pillenadan Chandrakashan, Shivadeshan Thushanthan, Jeyadaran Kokilan and Mahalingham Sashikumar alias Swisskumar.
When the case was taken up for the first time in the Jaffna High Court the Senior Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera made the first address on behalf of the prosecution. Deputy Solicitor General D. S. G. Kumararatne led the evidence.
The seven accused were indicted on 41 counts after the CID charged them with planning, abduction, gang rape and murder.
Eighteen-year-old Sivaloganathan Vidya a student of Pungudutivu School in Kaytes was abducted, gang-raped and murdered on May 13, 2015 while she was cycling to school.
She was dragged to a jungle patch, sexually assaulted and strangled to death by the convicts. The victim’s neighbours who later found her body alerted the police.
The irate residents of Pungudutivu caught the main suspect Swiss Kumar, tied him to a tree and later handed him over to the police.
Swiss Kumar escaped from the police custody and attempted to flee to Switzerland.
The then Northern Range Senior DIG Lalith Jasyasinghe has been accused of helping Swiss Kumar escape from Police custody.
Jayasinghe, who was arrested by the CID and remanded, was released a few weeks ago.
Swiss Kumar was taken into custody by a special police team.
The CID questioned and recorded statements from Women’s Affairs Minister Shashikala Maheshwaran on evidence given to the Jaffna High Court that the Minister had a hand in Swiss Kumar’s escape from police custody.
The investigations were handed over to the CID as the authorities were not happy with the way the investigations were being handled by the regular police.
ASP B.S.Tissera and Inspector Nishantha Silva conducted the investigations under the supervision of SSP Sudath Nagahamulla and Senior DIG Ravi Seneviratne of the CID and they were able to unearth vital information pertaining to the murder.
An attempt by main accused in the case Swiss Kumar to offer a bribe of Rs. 20 million to Inspector Nishantha Silva proved futile.
Investigations have revealed that the murder of Vidya was committed at the behest of Swiss Kumar. Investigations further revealed that Swiss Kumar had planned the heinous crime on the basis that there was a great demand in Europe for video films depicting women being gang-raped in Asian countries.
Swiss Kumar sent a special camera to his accomplices for the pre-meditated crime and they had recorded the sequences of the crime live.
The video recordings of the gang rape were destroyed by the killers.
Seventh accused released, but arrested again
The seventh accused in the Vidya murder case, Palani Rubasinham Kugadasan, released by the court yesterday was arrested a few hours later over a robbery committed in the North. He was remanded.