CID Questions and Records Statements from 23 Persons Regarding the Abduction and Murder of Janashakthi Group Director Dinesh Schaffter

BY Kiara Warnasuriya

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has questioned 23 persons in relation to the abduction and murder of businessman Dinesh Schaffter and has recorded statements from them.

According to Police Media Spokesman, Senior Superintendent of Police and Attorney Nihal Thalduwa, two teams of detectives are investigating the available closed-circuit-television (CCTV) camera footage, and conducting a crime scene analysis.

Addressing the media yesterday (18), Thalduwa said that according to the post-mortem report, Schaffter was murdered and that the investigations which were initiated by the Borella Police have now been expanded to the Organised Crime Investigation Division under the CID, as per the instructions of the Inspector General of Police.

Thalduwa further stated that the Police are taking all measures to obtain CCTV footage and phone records related to the incident, and that a separate investigation is underway to identify any eyewitnesses of the murder.

“Our aim is to bring suspects into custody soon, following investigations. Schaffter had lodged a complaint to the CID of a fraud to the tune of Rs. 1.4 billion in his business, and investigations in regard to this are going on. We are looking at the situation from all angles within this investigation – including if there were any complaints against him and if so, who complained against him.

So far, no complaints against him have been found, but it’s a murder investigation so we have to look from all angles and find out who his enemy was, or enemies were,” said Thalduwa.

In response to a question regarding the involvement of former cricket commentator Brian Thomas in Schaffter’s murder, Thalduwa replied:

“We know that this sum is owed to him (Schaffter) as he has made a complaint some time ago. Thomas was arrested and released on bail last year (2021), but there is no confirmation that there is any connection between him and Schaffter so we cannot make allegations against anyone yet.”

Thalduwa stated that the victim had been bound and strangled in his vehicle and that a thorough forensic investigation was now underway. The vehicle has also been detained for forensic examination. It is understood that the Colombo Additional Magistrate on 16 December imposed an overseas travel ban on Thomas over Schaffter’s murder. Thomas’s phone had also been confiscated for forensic examination, the Police said.

Janashakthi Group Director Dinesh Schaffter was found close to death on 15 December in his vehicle outside the Borella Cemetery, and died later in hospital. Media reports state that Schaffter was due to meet his debtor, who is suspected to be Thomas, who was arrested last year over an alleged Rs. 1.4 billion financial fraud, after Schaffter had lodged a complaint against him with the CID in 2019.

Schaffter was supposedly found by his employee on the instructions of his wife, who tracked him via GPS technology after failing to reach him on his mobile phone.

Afterwards, Schaffter was immediately admitted to the National Hospital of Colombo and had passed away in the Intensive Care Unit that night (15). Media has also reported that Schaffter had lodged three complaints against Thomas in the past.

When contacted by The Morning yesterday, Thalduwa confirmed that Schaffter was tracked down by his wife through an app. He further stated that no evidence proving the three complaints against Thomas had been discovered as yet, and that no suspects in this regard had been found either.

Issuing a statement after Schaffter’s death, his family requested the media and the public to respect their feelings and privacy as they wait for the accurate facts to be established.

“ Dinesh Schaffter was the very best of us and the heart and soul of our family. He has made untold contributions to business and sports, passionately challenged injustice, and supported countless worthy causes. He will be remembered foremost for his unending devotion to his family and friends and generosity, even towards strangers,” read the statement on behalf of the Schaffter family.

Courtesy:The Morning